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After Alzheimer’s: life goes on

11/18/10 (Thu)

After Alzheimer’s: life goes on

Editor’s Note: In October 2009 Elaine Noon of rural Garrison told her story of living with Alzheimer’s. Husband Alden of 24 years was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2005 and she told of his courageous battle while she cared for him at home until the final months. Today she shares her story of life after Alzheimer’s.
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By JILL DENNING GACKLE

Driving in the pickup, Elaine Noon often turns to the empty seat next to her when she is stopped at a stop sign. “Are we clear to the right?” she asks aloud. No one answers.
Her seat mate and husband, Alden, died Aug. 26 after five years of Alzheimer’s. In the final months even remembering how to sit down was next to impossible for him. Elaine’s routine included feeding, clothing, shaving and bathing him in their rural Garrison home until he was transferred to Garrison Memorial Hospital in May.
“I think it’s a disease unlike any others,” she said.
Once at the hospital, a new routine developed. She would take him for a drive or some kind of outing almost every day. She loaded his withered frame into the pickup just four days before his death and took him shopping.
“It wasn’t a picnic pushing the wheelchair and pulling the cart, but at least we were still together,” she said.