What Is Alzheimer's Disease?
Jewell Johnson had once been quite active in her neighborhood. She had also attended church regularly. These activities had not significantly changed following her husband's death three years earlier. Her friends and family had been impressed with how well she made it through the grief and kept her life going. She had always been stronger and healthier than her husband. Mrs. Johnson was now 74 and seemed to be a model for aging.
Several months ago, her closest neighbors began to notice changes. She dropped out of church. They discovered that her feelings had been hurt. Apparently, she had made some mistakes as the treasurer of her Sunday School class, losing several hundred dollars. That was not her story, though; Mrs. Johnson insisted that someone had stolen the money. It had all been cash, and for some reason she had never deposited it in the bank.
She began to stay home more and more often. It also surprised the neighbors that she discouraged their visits. They were becoming worried about her and considered calling relatives, but her son and daughter both lived several hundred miles away and telephoned regularly. Their professional jobs made it difficult to visit very often. The pastor tried to visit, but Jewell was uncharacteristically rude to him and other church members who tried to visit her.
The yard was still covered with leaves left since the fall. It was now the middle of winter. On occasion, neighbors would check on Jewell. Several times a