“What am I doing here? Where was I going? How do I go home? What is my name? Who are you and why do you call me mother? I am scared because I don’t know what is going on around me…”
Thoughts and feelings like these are the ones that cross through the minds of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Identified for the first time by Alois Alzheimer in 1901, and later by Emil Kraepelin in 1920, this is a progessive, degenerative and irreversible disease that affects the brain cells until they are dead atrophing different parts of the brain. This causes the alteration and eventualy loss of memory, orientation, judgement, personality and languaje which makes the person completely dependable on the care provided by their family or medical/social assistants to do any daily life activities.
The origin of the Alzheimer’s disease is still unknown and aparently it can affect any person. Its beginning is usually slow, almost not noticeable and it evolves in a different way on every patient. It is very difficult to diagnose it on an early stage and although is more common on people over 65 years old there are a lot of cases of people younger than that.
The Alzheimer Foundation “Alguien con quien Contar” , where some of the images were shot, is an Institution of Private Assistance created by a group of relatives of patients with Alzheimer who met in a World Alzheimer’s Congress in México City in 1990. These days, the Foundation has 2 Day Care Centers, one in Mexico City and another one in Querétaro. These centers offer facilities and specialized staff to provide care to Alzheimer’s patients. They spend the day at the centers where their health is continously being monitored, they participate in mentally and physically stimulating activities and excercises and they relate with other patients which helps them feel useful and loved. Along with the patient care, the foundation offers conferences and help groups to support the relatives on the extenuating task of taking care of their loved ones.
For more information about the Alzheimer Foundation please visit their website.