Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2017

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40 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k m a y / j u n e 2 0 1 7 education PATHOLOGY PERSPECTIVES Alzheimer's and Other Dementing Diseases By Ruth Werner Buddy was a lively, gregarious, openhearted, 84-year-old man. He lived alone in a small apartment in a big city in the Northeast. Over the last year, his friends and family gradually noticed some changes—his grooming became haphazard, his normally perfect clothes were often stained, his shaving was sporadic, he began substituting words, and he had some rapid shifts in mood and temperament. But these deviations were pretty subtle. Nothing was specifically alarming. He lived by himself, his children were far away, and no one was close enough to him to connect all the dots. Every Saturday, Buddy met his friends for breakfast at the local diner. One winter day, he came to the gathering as usual, but was met with stunned silence. Buddy showed up on time and eager for his scrambled eggs—it's just that he forgot to get dressed. In the aftermath of this event, my siblings and I discovered that my father, Buddy—who we all thought was a bit frail but quite capable of being independent— had descended into Alzheimer's disease with a terrifying rapidity. His apartment was in ruins, and it was only good luck that prevented a much more serious problem than showing up at a restaurant in his

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