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I am a retired elementary school teacher and principal, with a doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University. My wife, Clare, is a retired high school teacher of English as a Second Language with two master’s degrees. Both of us were born in 1946, the first year of the “baby boomers,” and we retired early in 2000 to enjoy a retirement of travel and time with family. It was on one of our marvelous retirement trips in 2007 when I first noticed that something was wrong with Clare. Among other issues, Clare was forgetting many things about our lives in discussions with other passengers on our trip, and she was frequently leaving articles of clothing in buses, restaurants and hotel rooms. In 2009, Clare was officially diagnosed with young-onset Alzheimer’s disease ... only weeks after turning 63. I was her 24/7 caregiver in our home until September, 2013. Since then, Clare has been a resident in the dementia unit of an assisted living facility. I still live in our home, by myself, and continue to visit Clare each day.
I wrote frequently for publication during my years as a principal, with more than 100 articles published in various educational journals and magazines, but I did not expect to be writing in retirement. However, I now write frequently for publication to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, to help fellow caregivers, and to to bring about change in current medical practice. I have already had more than 40 articles published in a variety of peer reviewed medical journals, caregiver magazines, and on national Alzheimer’s organization websites. I have also had three op-ed pieces published in major newspapers. All of my published articles, along with more background on the journey that Clare and I are on, may be accessed at www.allansvann.blogspot.com.
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