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‘The person that you knew just begins to disappear’ – Siouxland family shares their experience with Alzheimer’s

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - The Alzheimer’s Association’s annual Facts & Figures report recently released, and has the latest data about how Alzheimer’s and dementia are affecting those nationwide and right here in Iowa.

Leaders with the Alzheimer's Association said that in the report, they're seeing that the burden of the disease on individuals and families continues to grow.

They say more Americans are living with the disease than ever before and Acacia Deadrick, a program specialist, said the number is expected to double by 2050.

Here in Iowa, she said there are 66,000 people that they know of that are affected.

"These yearly reports impact federal funding. Which impacts research. It is a good way for us to raise awareness. We can reach out to people and say look at these statistics. And it's a good way to get people to really understand how much this affects everybody and how it can affect anybody," said Acacia Deadrick, Program Specialist.

Deadrick added the more you know about the disease, the better you can take care of yourself and potentially decrease your risk factor for developing it.

One Siouxlander, David Chobar is currently a caregiver to his wife, Janet who lives with Alzheimer’s.

Chobar said she's been living with Alzheimer's for about 18 months now.
At this point, Chobar says she has no short-term memory.

With no short-term memory, Chobar said she forgets things like where to put the dishes after washing them and finds other things in bizarre places.

"It's a silent killer. In some ways, it's worse than a heart attack and other things because this person you dearly have loved… we've been married for 55 years. The person that you knew just begins to disappear," said David Chobar.

He added for those who've never experienced or been affected by the disease, try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine what it would be like to have no short-term memory.

"Absolutely. I'd like to see people be more educated. People don't get it unless they're directly involved in it," said Chobar.

Chobar added that although they've gotten their first doses of vaccine, because of the pandemic… they've been isolated at home.

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Emily Schrad

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