Alzheimer’s Robs More Than Memories

Isabella Chan

There is nothing like the look of excitement when someone remembers your face, it’s the kind that makes you feel that you matter to them and are important — it’s irreplaceable. But that heart warming feeling of recognition gets ripped away when their memories are stolen by the thieving hands of Alzheimer’s disease, leaving behind only fragments of their recognition.

Alzheimer’s disease is a common form of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. It is progressive and worsens over time, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. This disease is more common than Americans realize; every 65 seconds a person begins to develop Alzheimer’s. In fact, a third of The Recorder staff has or had a love one who suffer from the incurable disease in various stages.

Some of us have a loved one who was recently diagnosed, others have someone struggling to do simple tasks or even remember who we are and some of us have lost a grandparent to the crippling disease.

It is not an easy battle to fight, along with the person diagnosed with the disease, their entire family suffers with them. Based a study in 2018 by Hilarity for Charity, a nonprofit organization that works to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, family and friends of those suffering with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementias provided an estimated 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care, with roughly 250,000 of those caregivers being children and young adults between the ages of 8- 18.

Families and friends have become the first line of defense when it comes to helping their loved ones navigate ways to face the challenges brought on by this disease. In “A Marriage to Remember,”, an Op-Doc by The New York Times writer Banker White, showed firsthand the increasing level of difficulty of what caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease is like and the adjustments needed within the home to help them be treated.

“Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is a long and humbling experience. Perhaps most painful is the underlying feeling of futility; you know it’s only going to get harder,” White stated. “The experience of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be incredibly isolating, at a time when you need support the most.”

The disease slowly strips away the person you love into someone almost unrecognizable. People often suggest to create as many memories as possible with their loved ones as they can at this time, but it is difficult when that person begins to forget you or feels irritated from your help.

As of now, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease but there are treatments that help to slow down the symptoms and number of organizations researching methods to help fight it.

As November brings awareness to the disease as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, it is important to look for signs in loved ones. It can begin with something as little as forgetting to close the refrigerator door or frequent repetition, but it can grow to become much worse.

Alzheimer’s disease takes away more than memories;  it robs the personality and warmth of our loved ones.