President Ronald Reagan before his Alzheimer’s Diagnosis. (Photo Courtesy of

One of the first things my mother noticed about my father’s behavior in the early days of what we would later understand was early-onset Alzheimer’s was that he hid things. Cash. His wallet. Sometimes his keys.

My mother would usually be able to find these things again, but eventually his wallet disappeared and never turned up. It became my mother’s running “joke” — it’s helpful to find humor in these circumstances when you can — that one day after she and my Dad were gone, I would find that wallet and solve the mystery.

I never did.

The instinct to…

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I was sitting with my 83-year-old mother in the hospital when a nurse came in to check her vitals. She had been there a few days with an infection and was on a course of antibiotics.

The nurse said she had a fever. I didn’t think much of it at the time since she was already on antibiotics, but early the next morning when my mom’s doctor called after his daily visit, I mentioned the fever.

“What fever?” he asked.

The fever had not been recorded in my mother’s chart, the doctor said, and was an indicator that the antibiotics…

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If your loved one lives near a hospital, it’s wise to choose a doctor with hospital privileges. Many hospitals now employ “hospitalists” — doctors who work for the hospital and treat you only during your hospital stay.

For younger patients, this might be okay, especially for acute matters like broken bones or accidental wounds.

But for older patients, whether the matter is acute or chronic, it’s a good idea to be treated by a doctor who knows their medical history and can work from that history in analyzing and treating the presenting problem.

One Saturday my mother and I were…

You may have to get them in the back door.

Photo by Alex Boyd on Unsplash

One of the hardest moments caring for my Mom was the day she said, “Just let me die here.”

My father had passed away from Alzheimer’s three years before. After devotedly caring for him for ten years, she had started to build a full life again, playing bridge with her friends, teaching Bible study, and traveling a bit.

But after a few years her mind started slipping, she got into a car accident and no longer wanted to socialize or even get dressed up which she had always loved to…

The last evening out my parents shared came a few years after my father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. I think somehow my Mom knew this might be the last so she planned a lovely night at a special restaurant.

Halfway through dinner Daddy looked at Mom and said, “You are the most beautiful woman in the room.”

Then he said, “Do you know my wife Dorothy?”

She called me after dinner devastated. “He doesn’t know who I am.”

Understanding her sadness, I saw a gift in Daddy’s words. In that moment, he didn’t know who she was. But after forty years of marriage, he still thought she was the most beautiful woman in the room.

A Turning Point on the Alzheimer’s Journey.

Photo by Maria Ziegler on Unsplash

My mother came out of the shower one morning, and my father was gone.

They’d had breakfast as usual that day, and then she left him in the living room watching TV to get ready for her day.

But there was no Daddy as usual when she returned. He had walked out the front door, down the street and was found by the police an hour later smiling, they said, but not knowing where he was.

We were blessed that he wasn’t hurt and that the kind policemen brought him home. By God’s…

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Alois Alzheimer was a German psychiatrist and clinical researcher who at the turn of the last century studied a 50-year-old woman, known as Auguste D. (not pictured above), who exhibited signs of paranoia, confusion, crying fits, memory disturbance, and aggression upon her admittance to the Frankfurt Psychiatric Hospital where he worked.

Alzheimer documented her stay in the hospital and the progression of her symptoms. When she died five years later, Alzheimer conducted a histology of her brain tissue and found distinctive plaques.

The disease, which then carried Alzheimer’s name, was referred to as presenile dementia with some unusual histological signs…

A new study confirms the link.

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A 2020 scientific study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease “supports a growing body of research that links human exposure to aluminum with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).”

Yet, at the time of this writing, the website of the Alzheimer’s Association, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization, still labels the link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s a “myth.”

Why not follow the research and avoid unnecessary risks?

Here are some of the places aluminum lurks in our daily lives:

  • Soda and other popular beverage cans
  • Anti-perspirants — Use an aluminum-free Deodorant instead.
  • Cooking pans — Because aluminum conducts…

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“The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone.”

— Henrik Ibsen

There is a loneliness in caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. I want to write “aloneness” because that has a more positive connotation — as in “I enjoy being alone, I like my solitude.”

That is not this. No, this is loneliness. That dark space you occupy daily where you see life in full reality. There is pain, there is loss, there is death.

It’s a place you choose to live when you love. And you know that even as you are both lonely…

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Most of us are familiar with estate planning. Perhaps on your own or with the recommendation of your financial advisor or CPA, you’ve met with an attorney to create a plan to ensure that your hard-earned assets are distributed according to your wishes after you die.

The typical estate plan includes a will, a durable power of attorney, and a health care directive. …

Jane Allison Austin, J.D./M.A.

Daddy had Alzheimer’s then Mom got dementia. This led me to focus on Elder Law and Caregiving Advocacy. Connect with me at

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