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Alzheimer’s Affects More Than Lives

November is Alzheimer's awareness month, and in an act to not let this disease go unnoticed, people from OHS have told their stories.

Taylor Watkins, Staff Writer

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One thing I learned was that you have to remember that the person with Alzheimer’s…that that is not the summation of their life.”

— Rosemary Ahonen

November is Alzheimer’s awareness month, and in an act to not let this disease go unnoticed, people from OHS have told their stories.

Alzheimer’s is defined as a progressive, degenerative disease that attacks the brain’s nerves cells and can cause loss of memory, thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

Rosemary Ahonen’s grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when he was 70. He passed away in 1998. “One thing I learned was that you have to remember that the person with Alzheimer’s…that that is not the summation of their life.” Ahonen said, “[You have to remember] That they had a life; they were married; they had kids; they, in his case, went to war; he came home; he was my granddad; I loved him dearly, so when he became a person that I was not familiar with, I had to remember that that was not who he was, that was disease.”

According to the Alzheimer’s association the person with this disease can end up losing memories of their pasts, being unaware of their surrounding, needing help dressing, and can easily wander and get lost.

“I remember sitting at the dinner table, and she couldn’t eat” said Wesley Meadows, senior.

A lot of times Alzheimer’s patents lose the ability to do the most basic things, like eating, without the help of a caregiver.

Multiple people close to Melodie Thurston, teacher, have had Alzheimer’s disease. Her aunt, grandmother and now her mom have experienced Alzheimer’s. “When my aunt and my grandmother and it they were very combative…to their caregivers, but my mother is very docile.” Thurston said, “The most difficult part is that they don’t know who you are.” Thurston also said, “You just have to remember who they were and not who they are now that they have it.”

 

 

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