WSIU InFocus Segment Archives
Five years ago, Richard Taylor received devastating news: the then 58-year-old had "dementia, probably of the Alzheimer's type." Since then, the former psychologist has become an advocate for individuals with early-onset and early-stage Alzheimer's and has written an acclaimed book, Alzheimer's From the Inside Out, which features a series of essays documenting Taylor's experiences with the disease.
Although Taylor has lived with Alzheimer's for five years, he believes it was present in his body long before he was diagnosed. Alzheimer's patients are often diagnosed with having mild cognitive impairment rather than Alzheimer's, says Taylor, which delays early intervention and treatment. Taylor also says that a fundamental mistake in treating the disease is not talking about it. Alzheimer's patients and their families must address the issue immediately, not wait until an accident occurs. Although the intentions of family members and friends are usually good, many times they become frustrated with their loved one's behavior and begin taking away aspects of that person's freedom, even if he or she is in the early stages of the disease. Taylor says the most important thing that caregivers can do is to love the person with Alzheimer's, to practice patience, and to provide opportunities for self-empowerment.
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