Many people regard Alzheimer’s as a cruel and devastating disease that destroys its ‘victims.’ One that robs them of their very humanity. Caregivers may fall into a period of deep depression and despondence when the diagnosis is made. Anticipatory grief also may develop. One realizes that life as it had been planned has been lost forever. Companionship and intimacy may appear to have vanished.
The caregiver also can become angry at the situation, angry at God for the painful reality that his loved one has developed Alzheimer’s. The caregiver may sometimes even be angry at his loved one who has the disorder.
Yes, it seems that Alzheimer’s is a devastating illness and that those who have it can never again enjoy life. But in the books of several experts on the disease, however, a somewhat different picture emerges. They unanimously agree that although Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease, people who have it can and do retain the capacity to enjoy life.