Sep 3, 2009

Alzheimer's: Does anyone really Care?

In the last month, I posted two stories about elderly women that were being neglected or abused. Both suffered from dementia. Both were unable to fend for themselves and became victims of sinister behaviors.

The first--Who cares? Senior with dementia is left to fend for herself--was about an elderly woman living alone. No one to help, all alone in the world. She lived in the equivalent of a black hole on earth.
"So sad; there is a single bed, just two mattresses, no box spring, no cover, nothing. There are piles of stuff this high; shoes, hats, gloves – you don't see her sofa, you see these piles."
When a woman that didn't even know her tried to help she hit a brick wall. The Community Care Access Centre system asked her these questions--what is the woman's birthday, her SIN, her OHIP number. When the do-good citizen couldn't answer these question the CACC turned their back on the woman--a case of abandonment by a government agency? A well funded government agency unable to provide an alternative for a person clearly unable to fend for themselves. Should someone be held responsible? Does anybody really care?

The second story was about 89 year old, Elly Lorey--Did a Boca Raton Couple Murder Elly Lorey Who Suffered from Alzheimer's Disease?
Elly Lorey spent the last of her 89 years in a state of extreme mental decay, living in a locked, unventilated room where she smeared excrement on the walls and existed on a diet of honey buns and Ramen noodles, according to police reports. When she died, Lorey had withered to 80 pounds. Despite the signs of advanced Alzheimer's disease, she had received no medical care.
Does anybody real care?

In this case, the State cares. The daughter of the woman and her husband have been sitting in jail since 2005. Jury selection is in progress and the highest charge is murder.

Will the jury decide to send society a message?

 For those of us that understand Alzheimer's and dementia these stories are horrifying and gut wrenching.

I find myself wondering--does anybody really care? Does anyone really understand? Are we gullible enough to believe these are isolated instances?

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Bob DeMarco is an Alzheimer's caregiver and editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room. The Alzheimer's Reading Room is the number one website on the Internet for advice and insight into Alzheimer's disease. Bob taught at the University of Georgia, was an executive at Bear Stearns, the CEO of IP Group, and is a mentor. He has written more than 775 articles with more than 18,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.