Jan 12, 2012

The Other Faces of Alzheimer’s

By Max Wallack
Alzheimer's Reading Room

One religious tenet that I am familiar with describes worthwhile human life by asking, “Is the person capable of performing a good deed?” A good deed can be defined as anything that improves the life of or brings joy to another person.

One medical tenet claims that a life is worth living if the individual is capable of feeling joy.

On both of these definitions, the life of a person with Alzheimer’s is still very rewarding. We have all seen our loved ones with this disease experience joy, albeit not often enough. We have all felt the pride and self-worth we experience when we see our loved ones respond with smiles.

We have seen Alzheimer’s patients do things on behalf of others. I know Great Grams’ last words, upon leaving our home for the last time, were advice on my behalf.

Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are so often depicted in photos with sad and disoriented looks. I think too many people all too easily overlook the happy moments and the moments when just a smile on the face of a loved one can enrich the lives of their caregiver.

I would like to share with you some photos of Alzheimer’s patients. I wish more people could look into these faces and see for themselves that not only is there “more there” but there is even more to give.

Here is a photo of Great Grams, with Alzheimer’s. She is feeling happy and proud that I made that cane seat for her:

Next is a great photo of a grandmother with Alzheimer’s sharing a wonderful fun time with her granddaughter. They are both performing good deeds, making each other happy.

Here is one of my favorite photos. Nelda, shown here, is in her 90’s. This photo, taken within a week of her death, shows her still very capable of joy. I understand Nelda had a very empathetic and giving nature.

Below are three other photos of Alzheimer’s patients being “more there”. When we can help them be “more there” , we become more human.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

More Insight and Advice for Caregivers

Original content Max Wallack, the Alzheimer's Reading Room