Alzheimer's disease advocates take to the hill for future support

Published: Monday, March 11 2013 5:15 p.m. MDT

Access to other caregivers and various other resources provided throughout the state, however, have helped change the family's outlook, giving them hope that they can handle whatever their mother throws at them. And, Michael Styles said, he can better share in her life, however she remembers it.

The state plan emphasizes greater access to helpful resources and increased availability of resources.

Chicago native Jill Crowell always thought she was forgetful, but it wasn't until her shortcomings interfered with her successful professional career that she realized something more serious might be to blame.

About a year and two months ago, she was diagnosed with early onset dementia — at the age of 64.

Now 66, Crowell has relocated to Utah in order to be near family, who can help in her times of need and with the progression of her disease, which doctors anticipate to be full-blown in less than four years.

She swears by literature that encourages patients of the disease to live a healthy lifestyle and maintain active relationships with people who keep her engaged and talking. She said her only hope of delaying the disease from taking over her life is following such practices and staying positive about it all.

Jenks said Alzheimer's is the only disease within the nation's top-10 death causing illnesses that can't be slowed down, altered or completely cured.

"There is so much to be done," he said, adding that people aren't afraid of talking about it anymore. "Alzheimer's disease is where cancer was in the 1950s and where AIDS was in the 1980s. We can get on top of this."

Support groups, found years after her husband's diagnosis, have worked miracles for Amy Broderick. Such resources, she said, should be readily available and easy to find in order to help others in need.

"Life continues to be a challenge. He needs help with almost everything. He hardly ever sleeps and he tends to wander off," she said.

But the hardships she's endured to make life work for her little family are worthwhile because she still loves her husband deeply and wants him to be happy.

E-mail: wleonard@deseretnews.com

Twitter: wendyleonards

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