New York Times (September 21, 2017): Patient Voices, Alzheimer's Disease

September 21, 2017

When someone is told that he or she has Alzheimer’s disease, it affects the entire family. Beyond the basic memory decline, there are concerns about maintaining independence, long-term care and holding on to special moments. Here, people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and loved ones who care for them speak about living with the disease.

John MacInnes was the chief executive of an urban community planning company when he first noticed he was having trouble with his memory. John is normally an outgoing and garrulous person, but his mind went totally blank during a routine presentation for work.

His wife, Donna, had noticed earlier memory problems in her husband. A visit to their physician confirmed suspicions that John was likely in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

Although he is a longtime resident of his town, Mr. MacInnes can now drive only on a limited basis since he is prone to getting lost. He gets frustrated when people speak too rapidly or change the subject of a conversation.

After retirement, Mr. MacInnes began to carve birds. He finds the task of shaping a block of wood into a bird helps him maintain concentration and focus.

Ms. MacInnes keeps a daily “to do” list with a few small tasks that keep him feeling productive each day. “When I’m down, it’s a lost day,” he says.