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Stolen Memories

How families and patients cope with the struggles and unknowns of younger onset Alzheimer's disease


Written by Leah Willingham
 

A 'Monitor' three part series 

They were all in the prime of their lives, at the top of their careers, in loving relationships.

Each one was in their 50s when they were diagnosed with a disease they thought only older people got – at least people a lot older than them.

In the series, “Stolen Memories,” the Monitor follows three families as they navigate the unique challenges that accompany an Alzheimer’s diagnosis before the age of 65.


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Paul Ernsting (Photo by Geoff Forester)

Slipping Away

Learning to accept the unknowns

"I felt like I was letting my patients down," says Paul Ernsting, who had to give up his career as a physician after his diagnosis at age 52. Alzheimer's has rerouted the life he and his wife, Susan, built together.

With: Data tells deeper story of disease


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Kathy and Andy Harvard (Photo by Geoff Forester)

Truth and Loss

Searching for reconciliation

"How can you fire somebody for being sick?" asks Andy Harvard, who lost his position and only later was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Years later, he and his wife are still fighting for disability benefits. 
With: Problems plague diagnosis
 

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Brenda Bouchard gives Ken a kiss at the Evolve Memory Care Community facility in Rye on Nov. 20, 2017, a week before he died from complications from Alzheimer’s. (Photo be Geoff Forester)

The Inevitable

When the end draws near (with video)

Ken Bouchard always hoped there would be a cure for the disease that had ravaged his family. His wife, Brenda, whose mother is also living with Alzheimer's disease, recounts the long decline toward Ken's final days.
With: For younger patients, final stage is brutal