ASBURY PARK PRESS STAFF WRITER ANDREW FORD’S STORY AND VIDEO OFFERS A GLIMPSE OF WHAT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE LOOKS LIKE FROM THE OUTSIDE; WHAT WE CAN SEE AND HEAR AND WHAT LOVED ONES AND CAREGIVERS ATTEND TO EVERY DAY.
Pat Testa sleeps on a twin bed, surrounded by photographs of smiling relatives. His wife watches over him from their wedding portrait. Every day, his first thought is of her. His space in his assisted-living home was nearly silent, except for the occasional shuffle of another aged resident passing in the hall. Pat, 95, wears a hearing aid and bifocals. His voice is brittle, and he needs help getting dressed. But while his body is fading, his mind is still bright. Seated in his red power chair at a table in a common area, he recalled his life with his wife precisely.
He was 16, an usher at the Embassy movie theater in Newark in 1937. She was 17, and a regular customer. He helped his future wife find her seat. She asked him out on a date. Pat married Carmela — Millie to him — at 2 p.m. on April 16, 1939. Seventy-six years ago.