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Wife of early-onset Alzheimer's patient haunted by handcuffs

Posted Aug 10 2009 3:34pm


Time for a stomach ache.
Gail Ward can't get over seeing her late husband struggling with early-onset Alzheimer's disease and being confused by the handcuffs and shackles used for commitment hearings after he became agitated at an assisted-living facility.

It's not just the absence of Steven Ward that his widow, Gail, has struggled with since his death nine months ago. It wasn't even his diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease -- at the shockingly young age of 56.

Gail Ward, 58, has been a long-term care nurse for decades and knows the struggles of caring for demented patients well.

No, the memory that haunts the Roanoke woman is of her fearful, confused husband being escorted into an emergency commitment hearing -- in handcuffs and shackles -- and pleading with her to tell him: "What did I do wrong?"

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Bob DeMarco is an Alzheimer's caregiver and editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room. The Alzheimer's Reading Room is the number one website on the Internet for advice and insight into Alzheimer's disease. Bob taught at the University of Georgia, was an executive at Bear Stearns, the CEO of IP Group, and is a mentor. He has written more than 700 articles with more than 18,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

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