Alzheimer’s Disease


“God & Alzheimer’s,” my story from the Huffington Post (10/3/13), appears in INTO THE STORM: Journeys with Alzheimer’s (ed. Collin Tong). Twenty-two other writers, journalists, social workers and more share their Alzheimer’s caregiving stories. A rich volume that will be a support and a solace for many.  A must-read for caregivers.


Paul, my elderly father-in-law, telephoned: “Silvia has lost her lights.” Silvia was his wife. She had lost what?


Paul began to speak in riddles. Circumlocutions around a word. Then we had to guess. Paul was losing language.


And it took us months to grasp that this wasn’t ordinary aging, but for Paul a sign of oncoming Alzheimer’s.


Two big days as the National Plan To Address Alzheimer’s Disease is released on 5/15/12 and as a clinical drug trial for Early-Onset Alzheimer’s is tested on an extended family in Colombia. We’re pushing forward with 2025 as a goal for prevention and treatment of AD.


This weekend I discovered a remarkable narrated ballet called “A Life Unhappening,” presented by the Alzheimer’s Association of St. Louis. This world premiere of Adam Stone’s work shows dancers representing three generations plus spoken narration. Together dancers and voices tell the story of how Alzheimer’s affects victim, family, and caregiver. The one-act show was warm, engaging, and surprising as Alzheimer’s makes its mark on the arts.


Oh, the stories I hear. I’ve had lots of SWIMMING SOLO gigs this month where I’m the listener. Often I’m just 5-10 minutes into my reading and talk when someone wiggles in the chair, shoots up a hand to speak:
-A nurse tells about driving Alzheimer’s patients around to quiet them.
-A wife explains that her dog barked to alert her at the moment of her husband’s death.
-A young OR nurse adds hospice care for the elderly as a specialty.
-A grocery checker sends a check to the Alzheimer’s Association when she finishes SWIMMING SOLO.

I feel as if I have enough moving stories for another book. . . .


Check out the full page  New York Times and WSJ ads (2/24/11) called “Imagine forgetting your past.”  There’s a befuddled-looking Snoopy–alone and bewildered.  Thanks to the MetLife Foundation for its support of Alzheimer’s disease research.

Chocolate, Cats, and Alzheimer’s Care

The 1/1/11 New York Times featured an Arizona nursing home that lets some Alzheimer’s patients eat chocolate whenever they like. This is part of a new, more individual and sensitive take on institutional care of Alzheimer’s patients.

The article reminds me of the wonderful facility in Chesterfield, MO that allowed my mother’s Siamese cat, YumYum, to live with her for 5 years until just 2 weeks before my mom died. YumYum gave my mother endless joy all those years. Hats off to inspired nursing care!

How to find your local ALZ group

Here’s a great resource I found for locating your local Alzheimer support groups.

Find us anywhere in the United States, and learn about programs and services available in your area, including support groups and educational workshops.

via Alzheimer’s Association.

Alzheimer’s Association 2010 Research Update

I went to an Alzheimer’s Association 2010 Research Update in St. Louis two weeks ago. An informative program featured Gary Reiswig, author of The Thousand Mile Stare: One Family’s Journey through the Struggle & Science of Alzheimer’s; Dr. John C. Morris, Washington University School of Medicine; and panelists. I was moved by the crowd of families and professionals committed to finding causes and help for AD.

MUST READ: Gary Reiswig’s The Thousand Mile Stare.

Gary Reiswig’s The Thousand Mile Stare: One Family’s Journey through the Struggle & Science of Alzheimer’s
Short, compelling, real-life medical mystery about Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease and Reiswig’s family, many of whom carry the unique Volga German early onset gene. Family resilience and courage shine through.