Researchers at the University of Southern California are seeking twins with Alzheimer's for a study that seeks to help researchers understand risk factors for the disease. Participants will be interviewed about their life histories and their experience with Alzheimer's. The interviews can take place by phone, in the homes of the participants or at the university campus.
My 93-year-old father emerged as a different person when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years ago. He became independent, assertive, interested and engaging. When my mother died in October, he even became a bit spiritual. He’s certainly not the exhausted father with whom I grew up, who often didn’t know what to say to me. As a teenager and young adult, I never thought we would have much of a relationship. But now, as I approach 60 and he nears 94, the engagement between us has blossomed, as it has with my brother and all our children. The relationship he now has with my wife has become his most significant. She handles his money.
At many nursing homes and other senior residences, a visit from some friendly canines during "pet therapy" is a welcome source of comfort and cheer. But while the furry companions bring smiles and laughter to the majority of residents, they can be a source of terror to aging Holocaust survivors who suffer from post-traumatic stress or Alzheimer's disease.
A woman in a peach-colored sweatsuit sits in a sunlit hallway at the Silverado Senior Living Center in Calabasas. Once she was a professor at a California State University campus, teaching English literature. Now, because of the effects of Alzheimer's disease, she barely has a word to share, only a bemused smile for people she thinks she recognizes.
For most people in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's disease, the simplest task, like writing a check, becomes a Herculean undertaking.
In his case, there is a poignant irony in this affliction. My father is a neurologist, a specialist in diagnosing cerebral impairment. For nearly 50 years he taught neurology at Harvard Medical School.