Living with Middle-Stage Alzheimer’s

Living with Middle-Stage Alzheimer’s

As our population ages, the number of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease will increase dramatically. As it currently stands, 65% of Canadians diagnosed with the disease are over the age of 65 – but some are even younger. Though earlier diagnosis, access to better treatment options, and a greater understanding of the disease itself are changing the quality of living for people with Alzheimer’s, the challenges of living with the condition remain all too real. 

Maggie, 47, was enjoying her career as a social worker in North Bay. She had spent the better part of two decades helping to make a difference in the lives of inner-city youth when she began to become forgetful. At first, it was morning scavenger hunts for her house keys. Eventually, it evolved into an inability to remember key case details including names and dates. Maggie was often left angry and confused. 

After a neurological exam revealed that the source of her symptoms was Alzheimer’s, she applied for LTD benefits to supplement her inability to continue working. Unfortunately, her claim was denied due to missed payments of past insurance premiums, and that’s when Maggie and her family called Share Lawyers. Our team was able to successfully prove that that the insurance company had not handled the cancellation properly in light of her condition and she eventually received a settlement. 

As Maggie fights to retain her awareness in the middle stage of the disease, she has given her retired sister (and caregiver) Carolyn permission to share with us what a normal day is like for her now. 

10:00 am 

Every morning that Maggie wakes up I fear that she’ll be less of herself. I got the idea from the Academy-Award winning film Still Alice about a middle-aged woman struggling with Alzheimer’s to have her ask herself a series of personal questions each morning to help keep her mind engaged. Sometimes she has difficulty. I usually drop in every morning around 10 am to help get her set up for the day, make her breakfast, and to make sure she doesn’t wander anywhere unsafe or become distressed.

12:30 pm

If Maggie was restless during the night, sometimes she’ll sleep till noon. I always make sure I’m at her house early just in case. Thankfully, she’s not quite at the stage yet where she needs help with all daily routines, so, for now, she can still bathe herself and use the washroom. I make sure the bathroom is well-lit for her and relaxing music is playing, and that I’m always just in the other room if she gets confused about what she’s doing afterward. 


Sometimes we’ll go and visit a few friends who live down the road for an hour or two. Depending on the season, I’ll make sure Maggie knows what clothing she needs to wear, and put out a few options for her beforehand – but not so many as to overwhelm. When we leave the house I never let her wander too far outside of my sight in case she becomes disoriented. Sometimes she forgets the names of our friends and her relationship to them but we do our best to remind her. 

5:00 pm

Dinner time is a benchmark for how the day is going. I always try to make sure we eat at the same time every day, and as much as possible, I’ll make the familiar foods that she enjoys. I offer Maggie frequent glasses of water throughout the day to make sure she stays hydrated, and I’ll make sure my phone or the television is turned off to avoid distractions. If she’s having a bad day she’ll sometimes be withdrawn by this point so I try to give her space if she needs it. My sister has always been there for me so I’ll always be there for her. 

Maggie received her long-term disability benefits with the help of Share Lawyers, and she’s been very fortunate to have a caregiver like Carolyn to support her as her condition progresses. But like so many others who aren’t as lucky, the road ahead is long and uncertain. 

Share Lawyers will always be there to help. Get in touch with us today. 

*Please note that all names and identifying details have been changed to protect the confidentiality of all involved. 

Has your long-term disability claim been denied? Contact Share Lawyers and put our experience to work for you. We have recently settled cases against Great-West Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and many more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.