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On the Brain
August 2017

Winning the Fight to End Alzheimer Disease

Author Affiliations
  • 1Oregon Health Care Association, Portland
JAMA Neurol. 2017;74(8):896-897. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2017.1279

I was 8 years old when my father, Cecil Dawson, was diagnosed as having Alzheimer disease. Receiving a loved one’s diagnosis of a fatal degenerative disease is always traumatic; however, my mother and I were completely unprepared for what lay ahead of us. My father regularly began to wander, becoming lost in familiar places and unable to find his way home. Before long, my mother and I were unable to care for my father and decided we needed to place him in a memory care community, a special type of secured residential housing for people living with Alzheimer disease or other types of dementia. It was at this memory care community that my father would spend the remaining years of his life.

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