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| Tuesday, 16 Oct 2018
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A IS FOR ALZHEIMER’S

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eslA IS FOR ALZHEIMER’S  

By EDITH SCHAFFER LEDERBERG, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AGING AND DISABILITY RESOURCE CENTER OF BROWARD COUNTY

The victims of Alzheimer’s Disease are both the patient and the caregiver, for the illness strikes with fury on the minds and bodies of everyone touched by its rage.

Until we personally are touched by the tentacles of Alzheimer’s, when we discern confusion in the speech patterns of loved ones or realize that they cannot express their thoughts clearly or they experience lapses in name recognition, our understanding is limited.

Personal experience with the illness first occurred when our nonprofit organization received state funding for respite services in the home, as well as in day care centers. The terminology was fairly new. Age, at the time, was viewed as a possible cause for brain fragmentation that lingered and then remained. Research, without sufficient success, was funded by the Federal and State Governments, and Memory Disorder Centers soon appeared within hospitals, universities, and other sites. Frustration became, and remained researchers’ and relatives’ constant companions. People whose outward appearance seemed to be fi ne, were experiencing difficulty with verbally expressing themselves and uncertainty appeared to be their constant companion.

My Sister, who usually demonstrated no problems with communication, suddenly evidenced the troubling signs of confusion, signaling problems associated with dementia. Realizing that familial care would not be sufficient to address the perpetual problems, the family employed her long-term care insurance policy to find a safe Alzheimer’s Specific Nursing Home, as well as designated her retirement monies to employ a qualified and caring aide to supplement the facility’s oversight.

During the ensuing two years my Sister has resided in an Alzheimer’s Specific Nursing Home, the majority of her companions has died or moved, conditions have not improved, and frustration is the best terminology to describe our sentiments.

My Sister’s recognition of me remains a constant positive, but her mind’s resolution of the constant challenges of life is gone, perhaps forever, and she dwells in a land where old movies and songs of yesteryear dominate the scene. Would that there were a cure, but regardless of the monies poured into research and development, only tears of anguish and despair presently blend into the landscape of deserted dreams.



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