Decoding Darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer's Disease

By Rudolph E. Tanzi; Ann B. Parson | Go to book overview

Julia and her family had been told that in all likelihood her disorder was Alzheimer's, not schizophrenia, and that she might live for another five to eight years. Eleven years later, in 1978 and at age fifty-four, Julia Tatro Noonan escaped this world. Her family had struggled to provide her with good care, constantly shifting her back and forth between home and outside facilities. Home care and its round-the-clock aides were exorbitantly expensive, draining nearly every cent of John Noonan's income. And when she was at home, Julia would cry so, say such strange things, and be so anxious and disoriented that whatever family life John and those at home had scraped together would unravel. Aides would depart for one reason or another, and Julia would be moved to yet another nursing home, but never for long. Many establishments didn't want the responsibility of a patient who was apt to wander all hours of the night and be disruptive. And so Julia would come home again. Before she died, John Noonan made the hard decision of divorcing Julia. Without means, she had become a ward of the state and therefore eligible for caretaking funds through Medicaid.

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