Alzheimer's 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.
This every day phenomenon is exemplified in Support Groups on AgingCare.com--a place where men and women from different parts of the world come together to offer their stories and support to those who, like them, are caring for a loved one in the throes of cognitive decline.
By imparting their experiences, these inspiring family caregivers encourage and educate one another in a collective display of human empathy unmatched by any benefit concert, fundraiser or government initiative.
These are the tales that inspired the Fade to Blank project, a real-life account of three families whose lives have been upended by Alzheimer's. These incredible men and women exist as living proof that people whose realities have been forever altered by the disease still have stories to tell.
Read their tales, and share your own at: Fade to Blank: Life Inside Alzheimer's