Writer Finds Humor Amid Sadness Of Mom’s Alzheimer’s

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Dorothy Knopper at Bolder Boulder
Steve Knopper and his mom, Dorothy, at Balfour Cherrywood Village, an assisted living facility in Louisville.

Steve Knopper, of Denver, gives a glimpse into the challenges -- and surprising joys -- of coping with his mom's Alzheimer's disease in his recent article in The New York Times.

Knopper describes his mother, Dorothy, who is in an assisted living facility in Louisville, as someone who used to be strong-willed and not particularly affectionate. Now that she has Alzheimer's, he says she craves human contact and is much more flexible about everything. "While her disease is devastatingly sad, there's a weird and welcome side-effect: She's often more fun to be around," he writes.

Knopper says these days, instead of trying to rationalize with his mom, he jokes around with her and accepts her sometimes "wacky" ways. But it's still very tough to deal with this new phase of his mom's life, a problem many in Colorado face. The number of people with Alzheimer's disease is expected to increase by 42 percent over the next decade in the state.

Steve Knopper speaks with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.