Ruth Mooney and Myrna Seddon are the only support group members not pictured in this report. The demented people in the story were depicted in the most difficult circumstances. Dick Lorentzs daughter, Susan Waldron, wanted people to see her gentle father from before he got sick. She provided the photo below from her 1992 wedding, where he commented on how much the festivities set him back.
About this story
Reporter Stephen Nohlgren and photographer Cherie Diez followed an Alzheimer's support group for a year, taking notes and photographs with the understanding that no one's story would be used without his or her consent.
At first, many in the group wanted no part of publicity. Dementia is ugly and maddening enough without baring your life to the world.
As the year progressed, everyone in the group came to believe they could make a difference. They wanted husbands, wives and children who share their lot to understand how their support group helps keep them sane.
Scenes described here come from personal observation and interviews with group members and their families. Group members previewed the story for accuracy but had no control over content.
Some of the higher-functioning people with the disease were capable of deciding whether to participate. None objected to having their names and pictures published, along with details of their circumstances. Those who could not understand were told about the story anyway. Their loved ones agreed on their behalf.
Photo editor: Sue Morrow
Designers: Christian Potter Drury, Ken Walker
Copy editor: Jody McMaster
Editor: Richard Bockman
Web design: Desiree Perry