Alzheimer's presents many questions

March 4, 2014

This week Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services and the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association released the Delaware State Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders, and I was happy to see it.

Given Delaware’s growing population of seniors, and the fact that one in nine people 65 and older and almost half of those 85 and older have Alzheimer’s, the report is important for our community. And it’s important to me personally because my dad died of Alzheimer’s in 2012.

When my father first started showing signs of dementia, my brother and I sat down at the kitchen table with our parents to discuss their wishes. We had no idea what we were in for. Over the next three years, we faced an array of difficult questions.

Does Dad actually have Alzheimer’s? What are his treatment options? Will Mom agree to let someone help her care for him? Can we keep him at home until the end? If not, how will we afford long-term care? How will we feel when he no longer recognizes us? And how can we help Mom process the tangled emotions of her broken heart, even as we deal with our own grief?

Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease, and it’s just one of many. It’s good to know so many are working to make things better for people with Alzheimer’s and their families.

Claire Snyder-Hall
Rehoboth Beach

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