People who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease do not suddenly forget everything. Instead their memories fade over time leading to some unique situations, as the story of one couple in New Zealand illustrates.
Alzheimer’s works in ways that cannot be predicted. What memories will disappear and when they will disappear can often seem random.
Michael Joyce of New Zealand suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. He had been married to his wife for 38 years and eventually the disease progressed enough that he forgot he was married. In most cases, this would be a cause of deep pain for Joyce’s wife.
It is not easy for family members when patients forget something that important. In this case, Joyce remembered that he still loved his wife and he asked her to marry him for what he thought was the first time.
The couple held a second ceremony as the Washington Post reported in “Husband with Alzheimer’s forgot he was married to his wife of 38 years. He proposed, and they married again.”
While this story ends on a heartwarming note, there is an important lesson here about how Alzheimer’s disease works. People who get the disease cannot know what memories they will lose and when they will lose them, so they cannot afford to wait to make plans for dealing with the disease. Otherwise, they may forget something important before they fully plan.
People need to go to an estate planning attorney before that happens. That way they can make sure they have planned for their estates and their end-of-life care through powers of attorney and advanced medical directives.
Reference: Washington Post (Jan. 2018) “Husband with Alzheimer’s forgot he was married to his wife of 38 years. He proposed, and they married again.”