Changing the View of Alzheimer's Disease

13 Comments

From our first breath to our last, the stories we hear and the stories we tell define who we are and how we perceive our world.

Stories connect us by revealing universal truths. They create patterns of thought and behavior that become indelibly ingrained into our subconscious.

It is the power of personal stories (and the memories they make) that gives the specter of Alzheimer's disease such strength, regardless of an individual's location, ethnicity or philosophical leanings.

Read the full story: "Fade to Blank: Life Inside Alzheimer's."

The disease is viewed as a story-stealer—one of the few ailments powerful enough to strike at that which makes us uniquely human. By pilfering our personal narratives, Alzheimer's threatens to disintegrate our humanity, one recollection at a time.

Who are we, if not an accumulation of a lifetime of experiences?

A shell, a husk, a hollow container—this is how the world views men and women with Alzheimer's disease.

So influential is this perception that those who are diagnosed are soon written off as a tragically lost cause; incapable of learning, growing or forming relationships. Everyone buys into this image. The person with the disease believes it, their family believes it, society believes it, and the notion of hope becomes just another shattered memory.

The stigma of Alzheimer's tends to silence those touched by the disease. But with no medical antidote to the epidemic appearing on the horizon, some are fashioning a different kind of remedy, spun from their very own, real-life stories of tragedy and triumph.

By sharing their experiences, these inspiring individuals support and educate one another in a collective display of human empathy unmatched by any benefit concert, fundraiser or government initiative. They exist as living proof that people whose realities have been forever altered by Alzheimer's still have stories to tell.

These are the tales that inspired the Fade to Blank project, an account of six separate lives, united by one deadly disease.

These men and women have offered up their candid accounts, agreeing to let you into some of the most private aspects of their lives.

Their offering will enable you to gain a truer understanding of what life is really like for those faced with the reality of a mind slowly fading to blank.

All they ask is that you listen, you learn and you grow.

Read the full story: "Fade to Blank: Life Inside Alzheimer's."

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13 Comments

Thank you for providing a more positive view of the process of living with Alzheimer's. My husband and I have been living with his slow progression of Alzheimer's for 14 years. While I appreciate the concern and support that friends sometimes express, I am often struck by the "Oh, you poor thing!" view that people have of my role as caregiver. Certainly being a caregiver has its challenges and frustrations, and I am aware that there are much more difficult times ahead, but living with Alzheimer's on a daily basis for us has been just "like life" -- that is, it has its ups and its downs. Yes, there are the bad times, but there are the funny things that happen, and there are still lots of happy times. I know that the relatively slow progression of my husband's disease has allowed us more time to adjust to each new "loss" than many people have and has given me more time to problem-solve or figure out how we will cope with each change. But I also think we see living with Alzheimer's as a challenge rather than a death nell. Rising to that challenge, figuring out new ways of living day to day, can be a positive experience even within the overarching diagnosis of Alzheimer's.
I am a caregiver and I am beyond appreciative for the stories of the personal lives and the strengths and struggles for these families. It is a help to me and an encouragement that is much needed on a daily basis. Again, thank you for sharing with all of us.
I am my husbands caregiver and everything I read gives me encouragement. I am not alone and helps me understand more his feelings. It makes me a better caregiver. Please keep recording.