Most people know their daily routine inside out, so people with Alzheimer's disease may not notice if they start to miss a few tasks. Without realizing it, they may start wearing their pants backward or making a mess in the kitchen that they cannot remember later. People with Alzheimer’s disease find it hard to accept that their mental health is slowly declining. They worry frequently and feel vulnerable, which is why they need support and reassurance. Alzheimer’s is something everyone should take seriously. Here is the devastating reality of what it is like to live with the disease.
A collection of heartbreaking photographs sheds some light on the extraordinary lives of elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. One photo shows a long-retired firefighter looking at himself in the mirror. But instead of seeing wrinkles, dull skin, and gray hair, the man stares back at his younger self. Another image reveals an old man stirring a cup of coffee while looking at his reflection in the mirror. The mirror shows a younger version of himself working in a laboratory, stirring chemicals in a beaker. In a third photo, an elderly woman holds a comb for her white hair, but what she sees in the mirror is a young, dark-haired school teacher holding a notebook in her arms.
These photos were taken for an advertisement for an Alzheimer’s pharmaceutical patch, which can be seen on the arms of most of the models. It aims to describe what it is like to have dementia that slowly robs its victims of their recent memories. In an interview, Texas photographer Tom Hussey described the approach he took to capturing these photos: “The images are all about history — remembering yourself in historical context. I think the history and memory aspects are very important to me and my interest in this helped make the campaign a success.” Hussey documented real people who differed in age by forty to fifty years but resembled one another. The inspiration behind Hussey’s collection was a WWII veteran who could not understand how he could be eighty years old when he felt like he was still a young man. In some of the images, there are actual photographs of the models that can be seen somewhere in the setting.