Beginning at the End:
Portraits of Dementia by Joe Wallace

© 2019 Joe Wallace

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Anne Beaudreau

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Anne Pothier was born August 2, 1932 in Cambridge, MA and grew up in Arlington with her parents and two brothers. After graduating high school she worked as a secretary in Boston and in 1959 married Jules Boudreau. Together they raised three children in Newton, MA.

After Jules retired in 1994, they moved to Rockport, MA. Every winter they would spend three months in Florida, enjoying socializing with friends - new and old. It was during the winter months in 2014 when Jules first noticed Anne consistently couldn't remember how to shut off the TV. Jules told me, “More signs of cognitive struggle began showing and she was diagnosed by a psychologist with Alzheimer's when she couldn't show the correct time on a clock drawing. After that she was prescribed medication to slow the progress of Alzheimer's. She’s been on these medications for five years now but Alzheimer's has progressed to where today she needs help for every day living. She can't dress herself and needs help with bathing. So now I'm the homemaker, a responsibility I had never envisioned. Our marriage vows must be honored. I'm the caregiver for my wife.”

“She can't carry a comprehensive conversation, but does respond to my telling her to do things - like go to the bathroom, or take your pills...or sit at the table to eat. She is reluctant to go out to eat at restaurants. She frequently asks to see our kids and we occasionally do stay overnight and sometimes we take in the grandkids participating in sports.”

“Before Anne's Alzheimer's diagnosis we frequently socialized with family and friends. Today it's very difficult and we only occasionally socialize with our own kids and grandkids.  It's very difficult for me emotionally to see the love of your life slowly regress into the eventual end of her life. However we are still together and grateful for our time together. And for now, life goes on together.”