Alzheimer’s patients alternate between laughter and tears as they reveal their favorite, saddest and earliest memories in this heartbreaking video.
They speak about their first kisses, memories of their parents passing away and their worst fears: forgetting the names of their children or spouses as their fatal disease progresses.
Their illness causes patients’ personalities to drastically change and it can eventually ravage their long and short term memories.
Alzheimer’s patients’ devastating symptoms are obvious in the film, as one participant admits that he cannot even remember where he was the morning he was interviewed.
The clip portrays the emotions that patients who are diagnosed with the disease go through, as they try to hang on to the memories and people they want to remember most for as long as possible.
In the four-minute film, one patient says his earliest memory is of a time when he was a toddler and wanted to explore on a sunny day.
‘I was two or three, at least. It was a beautiful day – I remember the sun. I just wanted to take off. I just wanted to go see the world. I made it about a half a block!’ he laughs. ‘That was my world at that time.’
But his face drops as he continues, saying: ‘But I don’t remember very much more.’
When interviewers ask the participants about their saddest memories, many refer to their parents’ deaths.
‘That was tough for me to get over. I loved my dad. The sad memory was: sitting by his bedside, holding his hand when he died,’ one elderly patient says, fighting back tears.
And another describes the heartbreak she experienced when her oldest daughter died. ‘She called me on a Sunday. I told her I would call her the next day, Monday. And I didn’t.’ Her voice shaking, she says: ‘She had taken her own life.’
An emotional video features Alzheimer’s patients (one pictured here) speaking about their earliest, saddest and most cherished memories
In the video, this man says that he never wants to forget looking into his wife’s eyes
The patient pictured here says that his saddest memory is that of holding his father’s hand when he passed away
When asked about their first kisses, one woman admits, while laughing: ‘Oh, that was a bad date!’
But the laughter fades when the patients talk of what they dread most about what will become of them as their symptoms worsen.
They respond by saying that forgetting the names of loved ones is the scariest prospect.
When one woman is faced with the question, her lip quivers as she responds: ‘I don’t want to forget my children.’ And another answers the exact same way: ‘I hope to never forget their names and their faces.’
WHO IS AFFECTED BY ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE?
The CDC has reported that in 2013, five million Americans had Alzheimer’s.
However, by 2050 this number is supposed to nearly triple, hitting 14 million.
The disease is one of the top ten leading causes of death in the US, coming in fifth among people aged 65 to 85.
The symptoms usually appear when a person is around 60 years old.
Researchers believe that genetics play a role in the disease’s onset, and they are also studying whether or not diet and environmental factors influence who is diagnosed with it.
Unlike the death rates for cancer and heart disease, that of Alzheimer’s is rising.
One man says that he never wants to forget falling in love with his wife. ‘Our marriage, my wife’s marriage and I. I don’t want to ever forget that. We looked each other in the eyes. I’ll hold on to it as long as I can.’
While no cure for Alzheimer’s currently exists, there are medications that can lessen its symptoms. The disease is caused when a person’s brain cells die, which decreases the organ’s ability to function.
At the disease’s onset, the only signs of it could be mild confusion and forgetfulness. However, as it progresses, patients’ memories deteriorate over time, and eventually they are not able to recall even recent memories.
People with the disease have a tendency to repeat things they have already said, forget appointments or events, misplace their possessions, become lost even if they are in places they are familiar with and have difficulty articulating their words.
They also experience trouble making decisions, concentrating and working with numbers.
Doctors diagnose the disease based on a patient’s symptoms, as no specific test for it exists. The rate at which the disease progresses varies from person to person.