Malcolm Pointon was born in 1940. He was a famous pianist, a lecturer and a husband to Barbara Pointon, his wife of more than 20 years. In 1991, he was diagnosed with the Alzheimer’s disease and battled it for 16 years before dying in February 2007. His wife, Barbara, explained that the first clue were his piano skills getting worse, as “he started making mistakes in his once-perfect piano playing”. After getting diagnosed, Barbara decided to allow Paul Watson to document the development of Malcolm’s disease, which continued for 11 years until he died.
One of the most ‘famous’ Alzheimer’s effects is the memory loss, that is one of the very first symptoms of the disease. The person begins to forget things that were once very familiar to them, such as the way home or the name of their favourite restaurant for example. Even in the early stages, this might become a serious issue and cause dangerous situations; that includes forgetting to turn off the gas, getting lost or forgetting to eat or take medication.
As the disease progresses, the memory loss gets worse rapidly. The person will have problems performing everyday tasks as the memory loss affects their ability to remember how to do them, even if it’s a pre-programmed function such as speaking. This leaves the person dependant on others to wash or feed them, which could lower their self-esteem and with that their standard of life, or its lack thereof. Like mentioned above, forgetting to eat is one thing but Alzheimer also causes the lack of appetite, which could be seen in Malcolm, who was very fragile and thin in the last weeks of the disease. Barbara mentioned that he doesn’t want to eat and if he does, it’s only a small portion. Even in the t...
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...on, as well as the family. Simply coping with the diagnosis is a huge challenge to overcome, there are many emotions involved and the emotions of people with Alzheimer’s are really affected by the disease so they might feel overwhelmed by it.
Like mentioned before, Barbara thought about sending Malcolm to care home. It seemed like a reasonable decision, since taking care of him by herself would’ve been really hard and having someone to help would make it lighter. However, Barbara had to face a real challenge with the decision, as it was her husband and she felt like she was losing him, but at the same time she also wanted to be able to take care of herself and invest in herself so her health doesn’t get such impact. To help hear overcome and deal with the stress, she could get some counseling so that she can speak to someone who is experienced and can help her.
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