For Lian’s Grandpa, 87, seeing an airplane can set him shouting in Chinese, “Run for your life! The Japanese bombers are coming!” His dementia brings his mind back to being on the run during Japan’s World War II occupation of China. Lian’s Grandma also suffers, unable to bring her husband back to the present. A geriatric psychiatrist prescribed heavy medications, which diminish his anxiety–but make him look lost.
“Dementia is a 21st century human catastrophe,” says Jed Levine, executive vice president of CaringKind, formerly New York City’s Alzheimer’s Association chapter. “It makes many families live in fear and helplessness; it takes up a huge amount of resources of the government.”Details