And so, we need to push back with a battering ram against the stereotype that Alzheimer's is merely the horrid, inevitable final stage. While the end stage is devastating, the beginning and middle stages become a lonely, painful journey, the long kiss goodbye, which often begins 15 to 20 years before diagnosis. It robs one of self. It infantilizes. Alzheimer's is not your grandfather's disease. It could be your story some day.
The VA's shortage of therapists and difficulty reaching rural veterans means even those diagnosed may not get all the help they need. But even those who were diagnosed and treated find that at some point, therapy has done all it can do. More sessions won't necessarily help. From that point on, veterans say, their lives become a matter of coping.