A Look Inside Alzheimer’s was written to educate the public about a disease that too few people know anything about even though almost everyone knows someone who has Alzheimer’s. My co-authors, Sue Dublin and PJ Kimmerly, have early stage Alzheimer’s, and because they hadn’t yet reached a point where they had truly serious problems trying to communicate, their stories are the most thought-provoking in the book. The most important fact learned about the disease is that emotional connections are never lost even though speaking becomes difficult.
My husband, Dave Allen, died from Alzheimer’s four years ago. About a year after his death, his niece, Sue, called and expressed an interest in writing a book because at age 52 she had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and had quickly discovered that few people understood what she was going through. I offered to work with her on it. Her friend PJ Kimmerly, also diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s, was anxious to contribute, and we began planning the book, which we finally published on October 16, 2012.
At a time when the economy is the main concern in the political arena as well as throughout the country, much is being said about the need for more jobs, for putting people back to work. However, in the case of those who have lost their jobs because they have Alzheimer’s and can no longer work, it doesn’t matter how many new jobs are created. What matters is how they can meet their medical costs and create in their lives a flexible routine that works for them. In the last couple of years more and more people with early onset Alzheimer’s have offered their stories on the Internet, and most of them are dealing with increasing debt, especially in the case of long term care. Once a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is made, it becomes almost impossible to sign up for long-term care insurance if they are no longer working.
There is still no cure and only two medications exist that can slow down acceleration, but they stop being effective after a couple of years. In the last few months, Alzheimer’s has been more in the spotlight and the government has set aside more funds for research. In the years to come, I hope awareness of Alzheimer’s will continue to grow, and we will come closer to meeting the needs of those who suffer from this disease and their loved ones.
Marjorie N. Allen is an accomplished author of books for both children and adults. Marjorie worked as a unit coordinator at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She was faced with Alzheimer's when her husband was diagnosed in 2008.