Families struggle with Alzheimer's
April 26, 2004 9:44 AM Subscribe
Then, in one of his unexplained flashes of clarity, he told Debbie: "I don't want to have Alzheimer's." On Saturday, John will be 57. Although he is in the end stage of early-onset Alzheimer's, he still enjoys simple pleasures: walking outdoors, eating ice cream, listening to music. His wife, children and church friends — some of whom have relatives with dementia — will gather at the nursing home for a birthday party. They will honor the man John once was, and the spirit that survives. And some will no doubt wonder if they are bearing witness to their own futures. Alzheimer's is a disease that can create nurses and chambermaids out of loved ones. Jim Broomall doesn't blame his mother. It's not her fault. She can't help it. No one with Alzheimer's can and caregivers must remember that, he says. "If you don't, you'll go crazy". Or maybe even die: home care for Alzheimer's patients is a major health risk for the caregiver spouse. That's the choice for the families of the Alzheimer's patients (4.5 million of whom are Americans).
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