Man shares wife’s struggle with Alzheimer’s to help others

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Imagine not recognizing your grown children, or caring for a loved one who doesn’t know who you are.

Both are very real scenarios when talking about Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.

Dr. Faffer of the Naples Senior Center says it’s not unlikely for you to be a caregiver.

“Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are right here in our community,” Faffer said. “One in nine individuals will be diagnosed in the state of Florida.”

Many groups and organizations dedicated to memory care services wants family members to make sure you are educated on the disease, and prepared to face the future, no matter how hard it might be.

And one man is sharing his experience as a caregiver in hopes of making others’ journey easier.

Jan Petersen spent 10 years as a television reporter. But at age 55, she was diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s. And less than 10 years later, she passed away.

“She died and I just came apart,” said Barry Petersen, Jan’s husband.

“She would keep saying the same things over and over again and I was in total denial like every good caregiver,” he said.

Her memory loss was a tell-tale sign on Dementia.

Through telling his wife’s story, Petersen hopes others are prepared if one of their loved ones gets diagnosed.

Experts say that right now, there are about 5 million people who are affected by the disease.

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