Coping With Alzheimers

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 9:52am

November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month. An estimated 5 million Americans currently live with the disease.

November is Alzheimer's awareness month.

It is estimated that five million Americans are living with the disease.

Coping with the disease is not only difficult for the patient, but for their caregivers.

On a cozy afternoon in their New Baltimore home, you'll find the McCuen's tackling a crossword puzzle together.

Not something you'd expect since Doug has Alzheimer's disease.

Doug’s wife Susan said “All of sudden, he just started sitting on the couch, not doing anything.”

The diagnosis came last March.

But Doug and his wife Susan knew something was wrong long before that.

As an attorney, Doug led a busy work life with the New York State Legislature up until ten years ago.

When he started to exhibit signs of depression, Susan said that in her heart, she suspected the worst.

Still, the diagnosis was a shock.

“It just blew me away. It was terrorizing,” said Susan.

The first year was the roughest.

Despite being private people, Susan knew the key to not only surviving, but thriving, was reaching out.

They started going to a support group sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association.

Susan said “You feel that there's someone else who knows what you're talking about, someone else who feels as guilty as you do about things, your inability to do everything that needs to be done.”

And they're open about Doug's disease - one he says doesn't hurt much.

“It's a disease that catches you and eventually gets you. Ah, maybe. Maybe not. Odds are against you. It's slows everything down. You get help and support from your friends and related folks,” said Doug McCuen.

Susan says they do their best to help, but day to day it's the support group and Doug, still there with words of encouragement.
 

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