Last year, Newsday published "Alzheimer's: The Love and the Heartbreak," a series of stories that followed six families with loved ones at different stages of the disease. The award-winning stories explored the emotional, physical and financial impact of caring for those with Alzheimer's, whether they are at home or in a facility.
A year later finds many of the families continuing to struggle: some with the draining and unrelenting task of caregiving, others with the pain and loneliness of loss. Some are still learning how to approach the unique disease, in which patients often cannot express gratitude for the care they receive - or even recognize their caregiver. And some families are using the knowledge they've acquired to help others and become advocates for change in a system they say is not equipped to handle Alzheimer's disease.
Until this year, Gloria Richmond had never gardened, never so much as taken a single seed and placed it in the earth. But this summer Gloria, 71, often found herself outside her Holbrook condo, kneeling on the ground, her fingers fanning through the rich soil. She created a garden in a small spit of land next to her patio. She calls it David's Garden.