Helping Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers is my passion. By the age of six, I was integrally involved in the care of my great grandmother, who had dementia. I made a number of inventions to help her, ranging from a special step to get into our minivan to a seat attached to her cane for shopping.
Near the end of her life, Great Grams was admitted briefly to several hospital geriatric psychiatry wards, and she spent the last 10 weeks of her life in a dementia ward at a nursing facility. Upon visiting these facilities I saw the beneficial effect that working on jigsaw puzzles had on these patients. Somehow, they were calmer and more alert, overall “more there” mentally.
After Great Grams’ death, I decided to collect jigsaw puzzles and distribute them to facilities caring for Alzheimer’s patients. I began by delivering puzzles to each facility that Great Grams had been in, as well as each veteran’s facility that I could travel to. That is how PuzzlesToRemember was born.
Since that time, I have also spent thousands of hours volunteering, including doing research on the enzymes that may have the possibility of helping us identify Alzheimer’s disease in its earliest stages, when it is most treatable. I plan to become a Geriatric Psychiatrist, spending my life helping Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers, both clinically and through research.
In addition to pursuing my own passions, I feel it is important to encourage other young people to become involved in philanthropy and give back to society. No one is too young to make a difference. The effects of microphilanthropy can be huge. Many people doing a little can be more powerful than a few people doing a lot.
I have given many addresses to schools, religious groups, etc. about my views on philanthropy. Recently, I was called upon to give a keynote address to over 600 people on this topic. The group consisted of gifted students and their parents. I felt it was important to spur this group of students on to become involved in giving back to society.
Below, is a link to my presentation.
Max Wallack is a student at Boston University. 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.