For families struggling with Alzheimer’s in Appalachia, the road can be lonely and long. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that is the most common cause of dementia in older adults. Patients with the disease can live as long as 20 years after diagnosis.
“It takes a lot to care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Marc Haut, vice chair and director of clinical research at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute and a clinical trial team member at West Virginia University. “It is very draining. It is a really hard task and job to do. Because typically you’re caring for somebody who means the most to you in the world and you’re watching them change in front of you. And not only is it physically draining, but it can be emotionally draining seeing that person change in front of you who is no longer becoming that person that you know.”