“When we typically think about Alzheimer’s we think about people who are in their 70s and 80s,” says Susan Frick, a social worker with the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, “but there is this group of people who are under the age of 65.”
“The mission of Without Warning is to give a voice to people with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease,” says Anna Treinkman, an advanced practice nurse with the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. “We at Rush started this with the impetus from people who are younger, who didn’t feel that they had any connection when they would go to support groups that were stricly for Alzheimer’s disease — a lot of older people — and they had nothing in common with them.”
Participants take immense comfort in the monthly gatherings.
“I really look forward to coming on Thursday,” says one Without Warning participant, whose husband has Alzheimer’s disease. “I just think it’s really healthy to come to terms with the disease. I learn more about it, I learn more about myself. I just don’t feel like I’m alone, which is how I feel most of the time.”