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Alzheimer's Journey After Lifetime with Down Syndrome- A Sister's Story

  • Broadcast in Health
Conversations with Gail

Conversations with Gail


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Gretchen Josephson has a life more than one defined by an extra chromosome that defines Down Syndrome. She has lived a full life of love and accomplishment. Both a self-advocate and accomplished author, she worked 37 years until the day when Alzheimer's progressed too far for it to be safe.

In her 59 years in Colorado, she lived with a family of 3 girls in love and support, the oldest being Patty McFeeley who will be our guest.  

During her life, Gretchen was also the published author of Bus Girl about which Amazon reviewer Jeanie Bernice Street wrote, "Gretchen DOES NOT appear or write as a disabled individual, but more of a very ABLED woman. Her short poems are funny, insightful and a joy to read. This text should be in every classroom to show students what they can do if they want."

After her 50ith birthday, the family started noticing some decline and fought for 4 years to get the needed "dual-Neurologic testing" needed. December 2009, Gretchen was diagnosed with moderate to severe dementia.

Since then the family has stood by as Gretchen has declined from a life lived independently in her own condo, to speaking in partial sentences at an Assisted Living Facility. Not only will Patti be giving voice to the full life of her sister, but teaching us all what we can learn about new research, signs and treatments.

For more information see our article about Gretchen Josephson. In the related articles and interviews from this week, you can learn more about research being conducted by a joint partnership of the Alzheimer's Association and the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.