For Bill Gates, changing the way we diagnose and treat Alzheimer's is personal.

"Several of the men in my family have this disease," he said. "And so, you know, I've seen how tough it is. That's not my sole motivation, but it certainly drew me in."

John Lamparski/Getty Images.

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Heroes

Tony Luciani first fell in love with photography after his mother, Elia, fell and broke her hip.

While she was recovering, it became obvious that her memory was noticeably deteriorating, so her brother suggested moving her into a retirement home. But Tony, a full-time painter who worked from home, wouldn't hear of it. He knew that he should be the one to care for her.

Coincidentally, it was around that time that Tony bought a camera to take photos of his artwork.

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Richard Guthrie, 92, said he took the scammer's phone calls because he was lonely.

In 2007, the New York Times covered a spate of phone scams targeting the elderly. Guthrie, a widower and Purple Heart veteran, was one of them. In the end, he lost all of his savings — including the money he was planning to give to his great-grandkids for college — to telephone scams.

Unfortunately, Guthrie's case isn't unique. Senior citizens lose about $2.9 billion each year (each year!) from financial scams and abuse, according to a 2011 report by MetLife.

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92-year-old Norma had a strange and heartbreaking routine.

Every night around 5:30 p.m., she stood up and told the staff at her Ohio nursing home that she needed to leave. When they asked why, she said she needed to go home to take care of her mother. Her mom, of course, had long since passed away.

Behavior like Norma's is quite common for older folks suffering from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. Walter, another man in the same assisted living facility, demanded breakfast from the staff every night around 7:30.

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