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Puzzles To Remember

PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a 501(c)3 organization that provides puzzles to nursing homes, veterans facilities, and other facilities that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients. Puzzles To Remember was founded in 2008 by Max Wallack, who recognized the calming effect of puzzles and many other benefits on people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Max graduated from Boston University, Summa Cum Laude, in 2015, and is now a medical school student.

Since 2011, Puzzles To Remember’s Assistant Director, Hailey Richman, age 8, has been distributing puzzles to nursing facilities in the New York area. Hailey spends time doing the puzzles with nursing home residents. She always brightens their days.

If you have puzzles that you would like to donate, please contact us at PuzzlesToRemember@gmail.com and we will find a location near you where you can bring your puzzles. We can also provide you with a donation letter so that you can claim the value of your puzzles as a tax deduction.

To see a short video from WCVB Ch. 5 "BOSTON STRONG" about Max's efforts on behalf of Alzheimer's patients, click here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Springbok's Puzzles To Remember are "making a difference" in the lives of Alzheimer's patients

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The Springbok Puzzles To Remember are doing just what I had hoped for. Here’s an email I recently received:

“Hi Max, just wanted to let you know we received the 2 puzzles you were so nice to send to Sunrise in Cohasset. Thank you so much!! Your choice was perfect, was so fun to try them out with the residents yesterday, and what a success. Watching them respond to getting a piece in was wonderful, the large sized pieces are so much easier. They marveled at the large beautiful finished puzzles, and even liked just running their hands over them. Looking forward to working the puzzles with more residents today, you truly are making a difference in people’s lives.

We are going to be ordering some additional Puzzles to Remember the residents love them so much. The “Moonlight” one really inspires residents to reminisce, they think it is beautiful and even want to take a picture of it before we have to break it apart.”

Dana B.

Thanks, Springbok, for making my dream become a reality!

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Friday, December 17, 2010

AARP Posts Great Article about PuzzlesToRemember and Alzheimer's Disease

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember
The AARP has published a great article about PuzzlesToRemember. It describes the history of the founding of PuzzlesToRemember right up to the recent production of puzzles made specially for Alzheimer's patients, in a joint venture of Springbok and PuzzlesToRemember. You can read the article here.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Article and Video about Springbok's Puzzles To Remember on NBC, Kansas City

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

Springbok's Puzzles To Remember are now available to order at SpringbokCares.com.

Studies continue to show that cognitive activities, such as working puzzles, can greatly extend the period of time that Alzheimer's patients remain cognitively functional.

NBC, Kansas City, has posted an article about the new Alzheimer's puzzles, as well as posting a video about the origin and reasons behind these puzzles.


Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Puzzles To Remember for Alzheimer’s Patients Produced by Springbok

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

PuzzlesToRemember has been working together with Springbok to produce puzzles made specially to meet the needs of Alzheimer’s patients. These puzzles became available this week and can be ordered at:

www.springbokcares.com

There are seven different images, each available in a choice of 12 or 36 large sized pieces. In fact, the overall dimension of each puzzle is 18” by 23.5”.

Together, Springbok and Max Wallack researched the effects of doing puzzles on Alzheimer’s patients and, as mentioned in Springbok’s press release, according to Dr. Gary Small, director of Center for Aging, University of California, brain exercises can prevent Alzheimer's as well as slow it down. This is achieved by stimulating specific types of brain cells (dendrites) so they do not atrophy from a lack of use.

Springbok states that “Current research confirms that brain strengtheners, like jigsaw puzzles, help prevent and slow Alzheimer’s disease. Jigsaw puzzles are especially unique because the activity can stimulate multiple areas of the brain at once, including shape recognition, problem solving, and pattern recognition.”

Several of the images currently available have holiday themes. For Alzheimer’s patients, these would be a gift that would be both entertaining and supportive of their mental health.

Several of the images currently available have holiday themes. For Alzheimer’s patients, these would be a gift that would be both entertaining and supportive of their mental health.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Puzzles For Alzheimer's Patients in Portugal

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

 I am very pleased to learn that Alzheimer's Portugal will begin collecting puzzles for the use of Alzheimer's patients.  I am honored that they are modeling their program after PuzzlesToRemember.  Here is the information that appears on the Alzheimer Portugal website:

Puzzles para Alzheimer é um projecto desenvolvido a pensar nas pessoas com Doença de Alzheimer. Puzzles for Alzheimer's is a project to think of people with Alzheimer's disease.

Esta iniciativa pretende divulgar o factor benéfico de construir puzzles para os doentes de Alzheimer. This initiative aims to promote the beneficial factor of constructing puzzles for Alzheimer's patients. Para além de permitir aos doentes distraírem-se, a construção de puzzles é, também, um excelente exercício de estimulação intelectual. In addition to enabling patients to distract themselves, building puzzles, too, is an excellent exercise in intellectual stimulation.

“Puzzles para Alzheimer” nasceu tendo como inspiração a Campanha “Puzzles to Remember” , uma ideia de Max Wallack. "Puzzles for Alzheimer's" was born taking as inspiration the Campaign "Puzzles to Remember" , an idea of Max Wallack.
O objectivo é conseguir levar até aos doentes de Alzheimer vários puzzles sendo que, para isso, o promotor desta iniciativa apela a que os puzzles sejam enviados para a Associação Alzheimer Portugal. The goal is to lead to Alzheimer's patients and several puzzles that, to this, the promoter of this initiative calls for the puzzles are sent to the Alzheimer's Association Portugal.

Cada pessoa interessada pode enviar os puzzles para as moradas abaixo indicadas, para um lar da terceira idade ou simplesmente oferecer a alguém que sofra desta doença. Each person interested can send puzzles to the addresses below, to a home for the elderly or simply offer to someone who suffers from this disease.
Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Brain Fitness Tips from the Hartford Company

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember
 
The top 14 Ways that the Hartford Company recommends to improve the long term health benefits to your brain are:

1.Eat chocolate
2. Eat fish
3. Exercise your peripheral vision
4.Play ball
5. Exercise
6. Rest up
7. Turn down the volume
8. Do a jigsaw puzzle
9. Make your hobbies harder
10. Walk on a rocky road
11. Visit a museum
12. Learn to play guitar
13. Use your other hand
14. Memorize a song
The complete article can be found here.







Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy.  His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of  PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.






 


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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Alzheimer's Patients Will Be Supplied With 12 Additional Boxes of Puzzles

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

I am happy to report that today 12 additional large boxes filled with puzzles were packed to be shipped for the use of Alzheimer’s patients.  About 5 of these are being sent to Adult Day Care Centers.  Six boxes are being sent to long term care facilities that care for Alzheimer’s patients.

With the remaining box I am trying something new.  The box is being sent to an individual Alzheimer’s patient.  The patient’s daughter contacted me and told me how much enjoyment her mom receives from doing puzzles.  I agreed to send her puzzles as long as, when her mom is finished with the puzzles, she will pass the puzzles along to an Alzheimer’s facility that I identify in her area.  I am delighted that these puzzles will actually be doing double duty!




Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy.  His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of  PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Alzheimer’s Patients Will Benefit From the Generosity and Social-Consciousness of Springbok Puzzles

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For PTR
By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember


I have been collecting puzzles and distributing them for the use of Alzheimer’s patients for almost two years. By now, I have supplied almost 5000 puzzles to almost 350 facilities. I often hear back about how greatly the residents are enjoying working on the puzzles. Sometimes, when I have enough information, I try to match the puzzles I have to the needs of the patients. Examples of this might be sending a puzzle with the image of a baby to a patient that has recently become a grandparent or great-grandparent, or providing images of flowers blooming to an individual who had been an avid gardener.

By the frequent feedback I receive, I know the puzzles are making a difference. However, all along I have realized that most of the puzzles I provide, while still quite worthwhile, have serious limitations in their benefits to many Alzheimer’s patients. Many of the puzzles that have been donated have high puzzle piece counts, making them useful mostly to patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment or Early Alzheimer’s Disease. It is rare to find a puzzle with a non-childish image that has a low puzzle piece count and pieces large enough to be easily manipulated, which is what is needed in order to be beneficial to Middle and Later Stage Alzheimer’s patients. I receive requests for this type of puzzle all the time.

Over the past few years, I have given a lot of thought to how I might overcome this dearth of puzzles for those who could most benefit from them. Then, last Spring, I contacted Mr. Steve Pack, President of Springbok Puzzles. Springbok had been one of the first puzzle companies to respond to my request for donations years earlier, so I knew that Springbok was a company that cared about philanthropy. I was overjoyed to hear that Mr. Pack was willing to produce the type of puzzles that would be most beneficial to Alzheimer’s patients.

Working together, PuzzlesToRemember and Springbok Puzzles have been able to make these beneficial puzzles available.

These new puzzles will have a choice of 12 or 36 large pieces. In fact, the overall dimensions of the puzzles will be 18” by 23.5”. Springbok will, initially, be producing 7 different images for their Alzheimer’s puzzles. Several of these are themed for the upcoming December holiday season, potentially bringing the joy of the holidays to individuals who truly need some joy brought into their lives. Springbok, a socially-conscious company, has been producing high quality puzzles since 1964. They use only 100% recycled materials and only vegetable or soy based links.

These Springbok puzzles are scheduled to become available in late October. The response from the Alzheimer’s caregivers’ community has been very positive. People from as far away as New Zealand are awaiting the opportunity to acquire these puzzles. Others are already calling the company, hoping to be able to order these puzzles soon.

I am overjoyed that these puzzles will soon be available. I am hopeful that the sharing of these images between patients and caregivers will open a whole new line of communication, perhaps reviving some lost memories that they might share, even if for only a few moments.

Judith Wolcott, MSW/LCSW, Director of the Butterfield Healthcare/Meadowbrook Manor Homes, expressed her excitement over the upcoming puzzles:

“Oh, Max! I am soooo proud of you!!! You have to know that much of the credit for the development of these special puzzles goes to you!
Our residents at three locations are benefitting greatly from your puzzles. I like to think of your puzzle project as little lights blinking across the United States at all of the locations you have touched...”


The image shown above is one of the puzzle images that will be available for Alzheimer’s patients later this month. At that time, I will post a link on this site to where the puzzles can be ordered. Some of these puzzles will also be donated to where they can do the most good.
Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

PuzzlesToRemember Continues Its Mission to Provide Puzzles for Facilities Caring for Alzheimer’s Patients

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

By now, PuzzlesToRemember has provided close to 5,000 puzzles to facilities located throughout all 50 states, as well as parts of Canada and Mexico.

Originally, I personally delivered all puzzles myself to each facility. Then, I began applying for small grants to help with the cost of shipping puzzles. Several corporations, including Stop and Shop, Harvard Pilgrim Health, and DoSomething (American Express) all provided small grants for this purpose.

After some time, I also took on the role of a “puzzle broker”. People and companies called me with puzzles to donate. I then researched facilities in their areas, and I arranged for them to deliver the puzzles to Alzheimer’s facilities near where they lived. I derived great satisfaction from this role. Everyone was happy: surplus puzzles found their way to where they were really used and needed.

A few weeks ago, I decided to, once again, deliver puzzles personally. I guess I was missing the satisfying personal interaction that often takes place when I deliver puzzles. I set out, with a car full of puzzles, to Western Massachusetts. I had a list of about 6 facilities that I planned to deliver puzzles to.

After delivering to the first three, I kept noticing additional facilities along the route. For instance, there was a veteran’s care facility that I had been unaware of. I stopped, and I delivered puzzles there. Then, I happened to pass the Applewood facility in Amherst MA. It was a large facility, and I decided to bring the remaining puzzles there.

The staff at Applewood was very welcoming. I spent about 20 minutes there. It was obviously a good facility, quite clean, with a caring staff. It let me relive the feeling of seeing how much good the puzzles can do. By surprise, a few days after I returned home, I received a thank you note and a check for $25 from Applewood. I had never even suggested that they make any donation, but their generosity will provide shipping funds for puzzles to other facilities.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Craigslist Helps Locate Puzzles for Alzheimer's Patients

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

One day last week, I was just perusing Craigslist when I noticed that a man named James, in a neighboring town, was moving and willing to give away 24 puzzles he had stored in his attic.

I contacted James. Not only was he willing to donate his puzzles to PuzzlesToRemember, he also offered to set up a collection bin at his local library.

Thank you, James. Your puzzles will provide great comfort to many Alzheimer's patients. Thank you also for your willingness to continue helping PuzzlesToRemember by collecting puzzles at your library!

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ceaco Donates 413 Puzzles

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

Today, Ceaco Puzzles in Newton, Massachusetts, donated 413 new puzzles to PuzzlesToRemember.  Ceaco puzzles has made generous donations several times previously. 

These puzzles will be helping make the lives of many Alzheimer's patients a little better.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

HOPE Luncheon

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

On June 22, I gave a presentation about PuzzlesToRemember at a HOPE Luncheon. HOPE is part of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Boston University Medical School. HOPE stands for Health Outreach Program for the Elderly. There were over 150 participants at the Luncheon, whose main purpose was to thank participants for volunteering their time to take part in medical studies.

As part of my presentation, I brought along sample puzzle boards from Springbok. These Springbok puzzles, made especially to meet the needs of Alzheimer’s patients, will soon be going into production. They will have either 12 or 36 large, easy to handle pieces. The themes will be geared toward memory provoking images for adults. We hope many people will benefit from them.
Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thank You, O'Bryant Chemistry Honor Students!

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

PuzzlesToRemember wishes to thank the Chemistry Honor Students at the John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, in Boston, for their contribution of puzzles for Alzheimer's patients. Your contribution was a very thoughtful and welcome gift. I will make sure the puzzles go to a facility where they can help many Alzheimer's patients.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Update

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

This week, I was able to pack and ship out 18 big cartons of puzzles. There were between 200 and 250 puzzles included. That is the most puzzles ever shipped out in one week.

Springbok puzzles is currently testing their handmade dies that they have produced specifically to make puzzles to meet the needs of Alzheimer’s patients.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thank you to Women in Development of Greater Boston!

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

On May 19, I received the great honor of receiving the 2010 Young Philanthropist Award from the Women in Development of Greater Boston Organization.
I was honored at a Luncheon at the Collonade Hotel in Boston. In addition, a grant of $500 was awarded to PuzzlesToRemember to assist in the distribution of puzzles for Alzheimer’s patients.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Eureka Puzzles Donates Puzzles

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

This week Eureka Puzzles, a store on Beacon Street in Brookline MA, made a donation of puzzles to PuzzlesToRemember. Eureka Puzzles describes itself as:

Eureka! A store overflowing with treasures ranging from artful jigsaws to diabolical mindbenders, clever games and books, to the ancient art of Japanese puzzle boxes, all chosen to entertain your mind.

Thanks, Eureka Puzzles. Your puzzles will bring a lot of comfort to many Alzheimer’s patients.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Feel Proud Today

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

Today, to my surprise, I received a package in the mail. It was from the Veterans Home in Silver Bay, Minnesota. First, I’ll quote the note, signed by two veterans:

“Thank you very much for the puzzles you sent to our Veterans Home in Silver Bay, Minnesota. We’re all so proud of your goals and accomplishments at such a young age. Our Veterans enjoy puzzles everyday in the name of your Great Grandmother. Keep up the good work”!

Included in this package was a great cap from the Minnesota Veterans Home, and two smaller packages.

The smaller packages each held a card with a poem that said:

“You’re a very special person
Who helps in many ways
With your heartfelt efforts
That earn our highest praise.

We appreciate the care
That goes into all you do.
The world’s a better place.
Thanks to people like you.”

Included were several small pins. One of them, my favorite, says “I MAKE A DIFFERENCE”.
I hope so! That’s my goal!

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Grace Lutheran Church Donates Puzzles for Alzheimer's Patients

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to spend some time at the Grace Lutheran Church in Needham. The Sunday School children there had already collected over 20 puzzles for PuzzlesToRemember. The members of the church agreed to keep collecting puzzles to donate for Alzheimer’s patients.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Note of Thanks from the North Dakota Veterans Home in Lisbon ND

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

This week, PuzzlesToRemember has distributed 11 cartons of puzzles to 11 additional Alzheimer's facilities.

The following is a quote from a thank you note received from the Activity Director at the North Dakota Veterans Home:

"Thank you so much for thinking of us with the donation of the puzzles for our veterans.  They really enjoy doing them."

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Poster Presentation of Puzzles To Remember

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember
Here is a photo of myself giving a poster presentation of PuzzlesToRemember at the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Alzheimer's Association's annual conference in Marlborough MA :

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

PuzzlesToRemember gave a Poster Presentation at the MA/NH Alzheimer's Annual Conference

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

PuzzlesToRemember was invited, yesterday, to participate in the Massachusetts/New Hampshire Alzheimer's Association's annual conference in Marlborough MA. PuzzlesToRemember gave a poster session presentation. It was inspiring to see 700 professionals all getting together to try to do something to benefit the lives of Alzheimer's patients.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

PuzzlesToRemember Receives a Harvard Pilgrim Community Spirit 9/11 Mini-Grant

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

PuzzlesToRemember is proud to announce that it has received a Harvard Pilgrim Community Spirit 9/11 Mini-Grant.

Their letter stated, "We are very interested in the success of your project and hope you will keep us informed... Through your efforts, and in partnership with our employees, we continue the strong spirit of community service that respects the memory of those lost on September 11th."

The Mini-grant Program was created by Harvard Pilgrim Health "to commemorate the first anniversary of September 11,2001 through a special contribution to its Foundation. The Foundation then administers this special fund and distributes the Mini-grants to non-profit organizations that have been recommended by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Health Plans, Inc. and Perot Systems employees."

PuzzlesToRemember will ship out puzzles to many facilities as a result of the generosity of Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare Foundation.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Note from Dallas, Texas

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

Here is a copy of a note PuzzlesToRemember recieved today from Assisted Living at Silver Gardens in Dallas, Texas:

"Thank you so very much for taking the time to pick just the right puzzles for our residents. We sincerely appreciate your thoughtfulness. We needed the more adult themes with larger pieces to assist someone with Alzheimer’s and their diminished concentration span. You nailed ‘em!

Our retired school administrator has made great use of not only the dinosaurs you sent along for her, but also the ones with infant pictures... She loves those faces – as does the retired banker I originally intended them for, since she has a great-granddaughter who’s just about a year old now.

A couple of the Residents were a bit reluctant at first, but within from two hours to the next morning, they were going to the puzzle station and getting them out with the CareTeam person who was working with activities."

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

A Note of Thanks from the Indiana Veterans' Home

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

PuzzlesToRemember has received a very nice note of appreciation from the Indiana Veterans' Home:

". . . we would like to thank you for your donation of puzzles for the Mac Arthur Recreation Department. The Residents and staff truly appreciate your generosity. We try very hard to provide our Residents with the best and most comfortable life. This will definitely help with that! Once, again, thank you very much for your thoughtfulness."

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

SunsOut Puzzles Donates 281 Puzzles For Alzheimer's Patients

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

SunsOut Puzzles recently moved their warehouse to a location in Kokomo, Indiana. I had corresponded with SunsOut Puzzles about the possibility of donating any overstock to PuzzlesToRemember. Soon, it became clear that there would be significant overstock, but the cost of mailing the puzzles to Massachusetts was prohibitive.

As a solution, I researched Alzheimer's facilities in the Kokomo, Indiana area, and came up with several facilities. This week, SunsOut Puzzles is donating 281 brand new puzzles, worth over $4000 to three different facilities in their area that care for Alzheimer's patients.

THANK YOU SUNSOUT! You will be helping many, many people.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

16 More Puzzles and Hopes for More

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

Today, I picked up 16 more puzzles at one of my collection bins. On the way out of the building, I was stopped by a woman who asked for my business card. Apparently, she has a friend who has many, many puzzles. She thinks her friend would like donating them to PuzzlesToRemember. Puzzles last a long time. Every puzzle has the potential to help many people.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Special Puzzles For Alzheimer's Patients

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

By now, I have been collecting puzzles for Alzheimer’s Patients for almost 2 years. I receive puzzles ranging from 4 pieces to 8000 pieces! About half of them are new, and the other half are gently used. I realize the needs of Alzheimer’s patients vary widely, and most puzzles will be able to find a home in a facility where they can provide a lot of calmness as well as intellectual stimulation.

Yet, I do not receive anywhere nearly enough puzzles of the kind that are most needed. The reason for this is that very, very few of the best type of puzzles for Alzheimer’s patients exist. For some time now, I have been contemplating this problem.

I have given much thought about what would be the best type of puzzle. I also got input from Bob DeMarco of the AlzheimersReadingRoom.com and Carole Larkin of ThirdAgeServices.com. It started becoming clear that what was most needed were puzzles having from about 6 – 60 pieces. The pieces should be colorful and large enough to be easy to handle. Serene themes with memory provoking scenes would also be helpful.

Over the past two years, I have corresponded with many puzzle manufacturers. Most have been kind and generous. One in particular, seemed to really understand my efforts. That was Springbok puzzles in Missouri. About two months ago, I decided to contact Springbok puzzles about the possibility of their producing this kind of puzzle specifically for Alzheimer’s patients. I was VERY happy to hear that they were very interested in participating in this effort.

Earlier today, I heard from Springbok puzzles, that they are examining the purchase of various puzzle dies in order to make these puzzles, and that they plan to proceed to produce puzzles for Alzheimer’s patients.

THANK YOU, SPRINGBOK!

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Donation of Over 100 Puzzles to Help Alzheimer's Patients

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

A short while ago, I received an email from a wonderful woman named Rosanna. Rosanna had read about PuzzlesToRemember on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room. Rosanna had been a caregiver to her husband who had Alzheimer’s. She had cared for him from 2001 until his death in 2007. In an effort to stay near to her husband and yet exercise her own mind, Rosanna worked on jigsaw puzzles every evening. In Rosanna’s words, “It was my way of relaxing and being in the same room as him.” In fact, Rosanna still continues to work on puzzles.

In her email, Rosanna said she had over 100 puzzles that she would love to donate for the use of Alzheimer’s patients, but she had no means of delivering these puzzles. Rosanna said she lived in the South Miami area. I told her I would try to see if I could arrange to have someone pick up the puzzles and deliver them to where they could be doing a lot of good.

I emailed about Rosanna to a friend of mine in New Jersey, Naomi Eisenberger, founder of the GoodPeopleFund (www.GoodPeopleFund.org). Ms. Eisenberger has helped me many times in the past, including providing advice about incorporating and about attaining federal 501c3 status. It didn’t take long for Ms. Eisenberger to come up with a great solution. Ms. Eisenberger contacted a friend of hers in Miami, Diane Schilit. Ms. Schilit and her family are great believers in community service. Ms. Schilit arranged to pick up the puzzles from Rosanna and deliver them to a representative of the Miami Jewish Health Systems.

The Miami Jewish Health Systems provides Alzheimer’s care on various levels. They have residential care, but they also have an Alzheimer’s Day Care Center. They also have “Bella’s Club” and “Lester’s Club” where early stage Alzheimer’s patients meet twice weekly for conversations and activities. The Miami Jewish Health Systems is even involved in research on medications for Alzheimer’s disease.

Because they have so many different levels of Alzheimer’s care and activities, the Miami Jewish Health Systems was very pleased to receive Rosanna’s puzzles. They are able to put them to use at several facilities representing a wide range of patient abilities.

So Rosanna’s generous puzzle donation will go on to help many, many people in the Miami area. Amazingly, Rosanna is thankful to ME, when she is the one who has given a gift that will help so many people with Alzheimer’s.

THANKS Rosanna!

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pepsi Refresh Seminar in New York City

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

As the Executive Director of PuzzlesToRemember, I was invited to participate in the Pepsi Refresh Seminar, held Saturday, April 17, at the New York Public Library. The seminar was sponsored by Pepsi and by DoSomething.org.

At the seminar, I had a chance to meet many other young people who truly believe in the importance of community service. I also had a chance to meet Fonzworth Bentley, who presented me with a copy of his new book, "Advance Your Swagger."

I was also presented, by Coltrane Curtis, with a special award for my work on PuzzlesToRemember, and I had the opportunity to hear Common perform.

The focus of the seminar was to teach young people how to go about getting support for their community service projects. It was a very informative and enjoyable day.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Puzzles to Remember on Chronicle

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

PuzzlesToRemember will be featured tomorrow, April 13, on Chronicle, Channel 5 Boston.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

PuzzlesToRemember Thanks Stop and Shop Supermarkets

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

PuzzlesToRemember would like to thank Stop and Shop Supermarkets for their support. Stop and Shop has given PuzzlesToRemember a grant to help with the cost of shipping puzzles. Many Alzheimer’s patients will receive puzzles due to Stop and Shop’s generosity.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Note of Thanks from the Thomson-Hood Veterans Center in Kentucky

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

Today, PuzzlesToRemember received a note of thanks from the Thomson-Hood Veterans Center in Kentucky. Here is what they said:

"We appreciate you and your organization sending those puzzles to share with our veterans at Thomson-Hood Veterans Center. They enjoy doing different activities. It is groups like yours that continue to help us give our veterans a better quality of life as well as provide them with a variety of different activities to enjoy and help keep their minds busy and their memory active. It is our mission to provide a caring loving atmosphere for our veterans to live in. We greatly appreciate your help in doing this."

This note describes exactly the goals of PuzzlesToRemember. PuzzlesToRemember's goal is to keep the minds of Alzheimer's patients busy and keep their memories active.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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30 more puzzles collected today

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember


This morning I made the rounds checking several puzzle collection bins in the Boston Metrowest area. I collected 30 additional puzzles, bringing the total number of puzzles to 3475.

A special thanks goes to the Weston Public Library and the Dover Public Library. The residents of those communities continue to donate puzzles generously.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Puzzles Sent to All 50 States

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

Today is an important landmark day for PuzzlesToRemember. As of today, PuzzlesToRemember has sent puzzles to facilities caring for Alzheimer's patients in all 50 states, plus several Canadian provinces. Included in these shipments, are deliveries to over 60 veterans' facilities.

Today PuzzlesToRemember also received thank-you letters from 2 veterans' homes. Here are some excerpts:

From Alabama:

"This donation could not have come at a better time and our veterans will benefit greatly. The residents are truly blessed and so very grateful. Thank you so much for thinking about us. Your compassion is notable and very special. Your gift of love and support is beneficial..."

From Minnesota:

"On behalf of our residents, we wish to express our appreciation for the donation of puzzles... The residents have a variety of needs and your donation helps us meet those needs."

PuzzlesToRemember will continue to provide puzzles to as many facilities as possible. In addition, PuzzlesToRemember is working on the creation of puzzles specifically designed to meet the needs of Alzheimer's patients.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Friend and Mentor, Bob DeMarco

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

In January 2010, I first learned of the AlzheimersReadingRoom.com. The editor of that site, Bob DeMarco, had written an article about my donation to the Alzheimer’s Research Institute at Boston University. I emailed Bob, and a friendship was born.

Emailing Bob was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It is amazing how much we have in common considering that we have never met, we live 1500 miles apart, and there is 45 years difference in age. I suspect that our common bond is that we think alike.

Bob and I share knowing what life is like being a caregiver to an Alzheimer’s patient whom we love. We share a thirst for knowledge. We both have a need to help others and provide information to help others. We both live our lives trying to make lemonade out of lemons.

Bob DeMarco is one of the most intelligent people I have ever interacted with. I know that every word he says and every advice he offers needs my attention and contemplation. There is always some important life lesson waiting for me.

Bob DeMarco was a Wall Street tycoon, a company CEO, and a College Professor. He walked away from that life six years ago to take care of his mom who has Alzheimer’s. Not only is he the exemplar of caregiving, he spends hours each day on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room sharing his expertise of personal experience as well as what he has learned from reading over 6000 scholarly articles.

Often Bob tells me he can’t wait to see what I become in life. I couldn’t do any better than to live up to Bob’s expectations for me. I also know that Bob’s greatest contributions to society are yet to come. Someday, I will be a Geriatric Psychiatrist working with Alzheimer’s patients and perhaps doing research to find a cure for his horrific disease. Someday, Bob will be this country’s VOICE for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. Perhaps, he already is.

Visit www.AlzheimersReadingRoom.com

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Big Thanks to DoSomething.org

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember


I want to give a big thanks to DoSomething.org for the American Express grant they gave me in November. I used the funds to purchase 126 puzzles.

The puzzles I purchased were 200 or fewer large pieces. It is very difficult to find this type of puzzle. Puzzles with 200 or fewer pieces are usually meant for children, and so they have young themes like SpongeBob or Dora. This makes finding puzzles for Alzheimer's patients quite difficult.

Through bargain shopping in stores and online, I was able to purchase the 126 puzzles. I included some of those puzzles in each of 45 shipments of puzzles that I sent out to veteran's homes that care for veterans with Alzheimer's disease.

I know those puzzles will be a great help to those patients!

DoSomething is a wonderful organization. It provides resources, seminars, grants, and encouragement to young people under the age of 25, encouraging them to DO SOMETHING to benefit society. They have a great website at www.DoSomething.org.

Thanks, DoSomething, for helping me help so many people!

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Puzzles Sent to Alaska and Hawaii

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

Today, two additional shipments of puzzles are being sent out. Veterans' homes in Alaska and Hawaii will be receiving these puzzles. Hopefully, the veterans there suffering from Alzheimer's disease will find enjoyment in doing these puzzles.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Four More Veterans' Facilities To Receive Puzzles

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember


Today, cartons of puzzles were packed to be shipped to four additional veterans' facilities that care for our veterans with Alzheimer's disease.

Veterans at facilities in New York, California, Colorado, and Alabama will be receiving these puzzles.

Fortunately, this time I was able to provide puzzles with 200 pieces or fewer, and most have large, easy-to-grasp pieces.

There are an additional 8 packed cartons just sitting on my porch, already addressed, waiting for funding for shipping costs.


Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Puzzles Sent to Three More States

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember


Today,PuzzlesToRemember sent puzzles to three different Veterans' homes. They are located in New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Carolina. Now, PuzzlesToRemember has sent puzzles to 43 states and Canadian provinces.

We also received a wonderful thank-you letter from the W.F. Green Veterans Home in Bay Minette, Alabama. Their Executive Director, Larry Weappa, says,

"On behalf of the Veterans at William F. Green State Veterans Home, we thank you for your generous donation of Puzzles for our Veterans. Our Veterans are enjoying these Puzzles very much!"

PuzzlesToRemember is proud to be able to provide these puzzles for our veterans with Alzheimer's disease. Hopefully, their day will be just a little brighter.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

PuzzlesToRemember is Featured in Care ADvantage Magazine by the Alzheimer's Foundation of America

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember



Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Recent Feedback from Veterans' Homes

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

I thought I would share with you some of the recent feedback I have been receiving from various veterans’ facilities when they receive puzzles from PuzzlesToRemember.

From Mississippi:

Mr. Wallack, I received your donation of puzzles on Friday, 03/12/2010. Thank you again for thinking of us. The residents are very excited about the opportunity to do some meaningful hand work. Thank you for all you do.

From Virginia:

I just wanted to send you an email to thank you for the wonderful puzzles that we received today!! They are truly great!! I have two of our veterans who are so excited to get started on the new puzzles. You have really brightened their day. On behalf of the veterans here at Sitter and Barfoot, I wanted to give you my sincere gratitude. I hope that you are well and having a great day!!!

From Vermont:

MAX,
WHAT A GREAT THING YOU ARE DOING.WE DO HAVE A SPECIALIZED DEMENTIA UNIT AND WOULD BE THRILLED.ON OUR WEEKLY CALENDAR WE DO PUZZLES & GAMES.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

My Week In Various Neurology Settings

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

Since March 8, I have spent every day in a hospital setting learning more about Alzheimer's disease as well as other neurological problems.

I have had experiences ranging from being in an elevator with a patient having a sudden heart attack to visiting a very sad veteran's ward of advanced Alzheimer's patients.

I found that most patients are eager to interact with young people, sometimes sharing their whole life story. Some are full of advice. I am convinced that interaction with a kind person can improve the life of every single one of the patients I have seen, even if only for a short time.

Some of these older patients affectionately called me "Doogie". Being from another generation, it took me a few days to find out that they were referring to a TV show from the 80's.

Tomorrow, I will be visiting some research laboratories where cutting edge research on Alzheimer's disease is happening. I am looking forward to learning a lot.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ten More Boxes of Puzzles

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

Thanks to the grant from Stop & Shop, 10 more boxes of puzzles will be shipping out tomorrow.This includes boxes for nine Alzheimer’s Units in Veterans’ Homes.

I find it particularly sad that these veterans who risked their lives and made huge sacrifices for our country, now cannot even remember the wonderful things they did to preserve our freedom!

I want to supply puzzles for as many veterans’ Alzheimer’s facilities as possible. It is astounding how many such facilities there are!

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thank You, Stop & Shop Supermarkets!

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

Today, PuzzlesToRemember received a donation from Stop & Shop Supermarkets to help with the shipping costs of shipping puzzles to Alzheimer’s patients.

Stop & Shop said, “We applaud the work done by your organization and extend our best wishes for much continued success.”

The lives of many Alzheimer’s patients will be made a little better because of the generosity of Stop & Shop.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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BizKids Tapes PuzzlesToRemember for Their TV Series

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

Today I spent five hours with a TV crew from BizKids. BizKids is a TV show on Public Television that encourages young people to start their own businesses, both for-profit and nonprofit.

The crew of four took the time to try to capture the importance of the work that PuzzlesToRemember does. They videotaped the huge mountain of puzzles accumulating in my garage, awaiting funding for postage to ship them to Alzheimer’s patients who would really benefit from them.

The Bizkids crew also filmed me collecting puzzles from one of my collection bins at the Weston Public Library. The Weston Library has always been very supportive of PuzzlesToRemember. It is one of my best collection locations. Today, 20 puzzles were waiting there when the Bidzkids crew and I arrived.

I was proud to show the TV crew how the PuzzlesToRemember website has been recently accessed from Australia, Taiwan, the Phillipines, Italy, Thailand, Hong Kong, and other far away places. Alzheimer’s disease is a worldwide and growing epidemic. We need to invest in resources to find a cure. Meanwhile, we need to help those who are afflicted live their lives with dignity.

Research shows strongly that creative endeavors, including jigsaw puzzles, can improve the quality of life of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Right Puzzle

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

For the past few days, I have been corresponding with a very nice lady, Joianne, from an Assisted Living Center in Texas. Joianne really understand how puzzles can spark the memories of Alzheimer’s patients.

Joianne cares for eight Alzheimer’s patients. She told me a little about each one so I could try to pick out the puzzles that would be best.

For instance, Joianne told me one patient is a retired science teacher who is still fascinated with dinosaurs, and she wanted to know if I had any dinosaur puzzles. Well, we were in luck. I do have dinosaur puzzles, but I hadn’t sent them out because I thought that most adults would consider them either subject matter for children or too frightening. This weekend, I will send that patient a great dinosaur puzzle.

Another patient, with advanced dementia and a very short attention span, just became a great grandmother. I will be sending that patient a 6 piece puzzle of baby.

A third patient, who was a world traveler to exotic places, will receive a puzzle of a European castle, while another patient who loves to garden, will have a puzzle of beautiful flowers.

I hope these puzzles give a spark of recognition and a memory of happy times to these patients.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More Puzzles Shipped Out

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember


Three more boxes of puzzles have been shipped out so far this week.

Thanks to Carole Larkin of Third Age Services, requests for puzzles are coming in frequently from Texas. I’m sure these puzzles will help many Alzheimer’s patients.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

My Day at a Memory Clinic

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

I had an amazing day today. I had the opportunity to be in a hospital setting and be involved in memory clinic for veterans.

I also learned about quite a number of different clinical trials and drug combinations that are being tested to help Alzheimer’s patients.

It makes me feel hopeful because, if all this great work to find real help for Alzheimer’s patients is going on in just one hospital, then I know there must be thousands of smart researchers out there that are really trying to help.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Solomon Schechter School Donates 200 Puzzles

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By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember

Today, Solomon Schechter School in Newton Massachusetts donated 200 puzzles to PuzzlesToRemember. The students at the school have been collecting puzzles for about two months leading up to today's donation.

Every year on a Sunday in March, Solomon Schechter School celebrates "Mitzvah Sunday." On this day, the students all engage in some form of community service.

The puzzles donated today will be sent to between 10 and 20 nursing facilities that care for Alzheimer's patients.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

What is Alzheimer's Disease ?

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Alzheimer's disease is a physical illness that causes radical changes in the brain. As healthy brain tissues degenerate persons suffering from Alzheimer's experience a steady decline in memory and the ability to use their brain to perform tasks.



Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia

Both Alzheimer's and dementia affect a person's memory, mood, and behavior.
  • Over time, a person with Alzheimer's disease has trouble remembering, speaking, learning, making judgments, and planning.
  • Persons suffering from Alzheimer's are often moody, restless, and sometimes mean.
  • Alzheimer's disease affects almost all aspects of brain functioning, including personality, and the ability to perform the most basic activities of daily functioning.
Memory difficulties and behavior changes can be early signs of Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is a an irreversible brain disorder with no known cure.

The cause of Alzheimer's disease is not yet known.

Alzheimer's disease is always fatal.
  • Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for as much as 70% of all cases of dementia.
  • Age is one of the most important risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. The percentage of persons suffering from Alzheimer's disease doubles every 5 years beyond the age of 65.
  • Women are more likely to develop the disease than men are – in part, because women live longer.
  • People who have a brother, sister, or parent suffering from Alzheimer's disease have a slightly higher chance of developing the disease. Right now about 3 percent have a proven hereditary link (genetics).
  • Heredity plays a much larger role in early-onset (before age 65) Alzheimer's. About 500,000 Americans suffer from early onset Alzheimer's. The number is growing.
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Symptoms Of Alzheimer's Disease
  • Memory loss
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Changes in personality
  • Loss of initiative
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • Problems with language
  • Disorientation to time and place
  • Poor or decreased judgment
  • Problems with abstract thinking
  • Changes in gait or walking
  • Misplacing things
Alzheimer's symptoms are often subtle at first. They start with slight memory loss, subtle changes in behavior, and confusion.

As Alzheimer's progresses memory problems persist and worsen.

People with Alzheimer's often:
  • Repeat themselves
  • Forget conversations
  • Routinely misplace things, often putting them in illogical locations
  • Have problems with abstract thinking
  • Are unable to maintain a schedule or keep appointments
  • Eventually forget the names of family members and everyday objects
One early sign of Alzheimer's is the inability to balance a checkbook or properly manage  finances. Eventually this worsens until a person has trouble recognizing and dealing with numbers.

Disorientation is another early sign of Alzheimer's. The inability to drive to and locate familiar places. The inability to find the bathroom in the home of a close friend or relative.

Persons's suffering from Alzheimer's disease often lose their sense of time, days, dates, and years.

They can find themselves lost in familiar surroundings.

Hoarding can be an early sign of Alzheimer's. Continually buying items like toilet paper, tooth paste, shampoo, or salad dressing can be a sign of mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's or dementia.

Personality changes can be an early sign of Alzheimer's. Constant worries about money. Accusing others of stealing or people talking about them behind their back are examples.

Behaviors include:
  • Mood swings
  • Distrust in others
  • Increased stubbornness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Aggressiveness
are all signs of Alzheimer's disease.

Causes

No single factor has been identified as the cause of Alzheimer's disease.

Currently, scientists believe that it may take a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors to trigger the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

The causes of Alzheimer's disease are not well understood.

The affects of Alzheimer's are well understood, Alzheimer's disease damages and kills the brain.

The ultimate cause of neuron death in Alzheimer's isn't known, evidence suggests that the abnormal processing of beta-amyloid protein may be the culprit.

The internal support structure for brain cells depends on the normal functioning of a protein called tau. In people with Alzheimer's, threads of tau protein undergo alterations that cause them to become twisted. Many researchers believe this may seriously damage neurons, causing them to die.

Risk factors

Alzheimer's usually affects people older than 65, but can affect those younger than 40. Less than 5 percent of people between 65 and 74 have Alzheimer's. For people 85 and older, that number jumps to nearly 50 percent.

Heredity

Your risk of developing Alzheimer's appears to be slightly higher if a first-degree relative — parent, sister or brother — has the disease. Although the genetic mechanisms of Alzheimer's among families remain largely unexplained, researchers have identified several genetic mutations that greatly increase risk in some families.

Sex

Women are more likely than men are to develop the disease, in part because they live longer.

Lifestyle

The same factors that put you at risk of heart disease may also increase the likelihood that you'll develop Alzheimer's disease. This includes:
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Poorly controlled diabetes

Body and brain fitness helps ward off Alzheimer's.  Keeping your body fit isn't your only concern — you've got to exercise your mind as well. Some studies have suggested that remaining mentally active throughout your life, especially in your later years, reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease.


Complications


In advanced Alzheimer's disease, people may lose all ability to care for themselves. This can make them more prone to additional health problems such as:
  • Pneumonia. Difficulty swallowing food and liquids may cause people with Alzheimer's to inhale (aspirate) some of what they eat and drink into their airways and lungs, which can lead to pneumonia.
  • Infections. Urinary incontinence which increases the risk of urinary tract infections. Untreated urinary tract infections can lead to more-serious, life-threatening infections.
  • Injuries from falls. People with Alzheimer's may become disoriented, increasing their risk of falls. Falls can lead to fractures. In addition, falls are a common cause of serious head injuries, such as bleeding in the brain.
Tests and diagnosis

Doctors can diagnose Alzheimer's disease. However, Alzheimer's disease can only be diagnosed with complete accuracy after death via a brain autopsy.

To help distinguish Alzheimer's disease from other causes of memory loss, doctors typically rely on the following types of tests.

Lab tests

Blood tests may be done to help doctors rule out other potential causes of the dementia, such as thyroid disorders or vitamin deficiencies.

Neuropsychological testing

Sometimes doctors undertake a more extensive assessment of thinking and memory skills. This type of testing, which can take several hours to complete, is especially helpful in trying to detect Alzheimer's and other dementias at an early stage.

Brain scans

By looking at images of the brain, doctors may be able to pinpoint any visible abnormalities — such as clots, bleeding or tumors — that may be causing signs and symptoms.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI machine uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce detailed images of your brain. The entire procedure can take an hour or more. MRIs are painless, but some people feel claustrophobic in the machine.

Positron emission tomography (PET) can reveal areas of the brain that may be less active and the density of amyloid plaques.

Computerized tomography (CT). For a CT scan, you lie on a narrow table that slides into a small chamber. X-rays pass through your body from various angles, and a computer uses this information to create cross-sectional images, or slices, of your brain. The test is painless and takes about 20 minutes.

Treatments and drugs

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease.

Only two types of medications have been proved to slow the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's.

Cholinesterase inhibitors

This group of medications — which includes donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon) and galantamine (Razadyne) — works by improving the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Unfortunately, cholinesterase inhibitors don't work for everyone. Only about out half the people who take these drugs show improvement. Some people are forced to stop taking these medications due to side effects, which include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

Memantine (Namenda)

The first drug approved to treat moderate to severe stages of Alzheimer's, memantine (Namenda) protects brain cells from damage caused by the chemical messenger glutamate.

Namenda is often used in combination with a cholinesterase inhibitor. Memantine's most common side effect is dizziness, although it also appears to increase agitation and delusional behavior in some people.

Lifestyle and home remedies

A healthy lifestyle may help prevent or postpone the development of Alzheimer's disease. Because Alzheimer's is most common in people over the age of 80, delaying the onset of the disease could increase the probability that people will die of other causes before Alzheimer's has a chance to develop.

Eat your veggies

Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a healthy diet appears to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Eating a Mediterranean diet is often suggested:
  • Lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Fish or poultry, instead of red meat
  • Whole-grain breads and cereals
  • Alternate sources of proteins, such as beans, nuts and seeds
  • More olive oil and less saturated fat
Exercise your body
Higher levels of physical activity have been associated with a lower incidence of Alzheimer's disease.

Exercise your brain

Maintaining mental fitness may delay onset of dementia. Some research shows that lifelong mental exercise and learning may promote the growth of additional synapses, the connections between neurons, and delay the onset of dementia.


Prevention

Right now, there's no proven way to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

You may be able to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease by reducing your risk of heart disease. Many of the same factors that increase your risk of heart disease can also increase your risk of dementia. The main players appear to be blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

Keeping active — physically, mentally and socially — also seems to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Early onset Alzheimer's disease

The term early onset refers to Alzheimer's that occurs in a person under age 65. Early onset individuals may be employed or have children still living at home. People who have early onset dementia may be in any stage of dementia – early, middle or late. Experts estimate that some 500,000 people in their 30s, 40s and 50s have Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia.

More About the Alzheimer's Reading Room


Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,050 articles with more than 8,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.



The Alzheimer's Action Plan: The Experts' Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems


Original content Bob DeMarco, Alzheimer's Reading Room

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