The Hurricane Florence was moving towards the coastal community while Patty Younts was forced to thing on where a person suffering from dementia should go.
Howard, Patty’s husband, 66, is suffering from a rare type of dementia which is known as the posterior cortical atropy. This has robbed Howard of his short-term memory while it is hard for him to see as he is almost blind. Living in the Pawley Island in South Carolina, for about 30+ years now, the couple resides in mandatory evacuation area. It means that they are likely to be exposed to strong winds and storms. However, leaving up also gives up their day to day routine and the sense of security upon which her husband relies.
Patty herself is 65 years old and is the only caretaker of her husband. She decided that they would go to a higher ground and went on to spend a night in Columbia, S.C, before they head towards the inland for Greenville. According to Patty, Howard, who was a former superintendent at a golf course, has always been calm and good natured person. But the disease has taken its toll on him and things have gone bad. Even when they go to restaurants, it gets tough for them as he is not able to see what he is eating. His vision has deteriorated so badly due to the problem and his anxiety and stress sometimes lead to complete meltdown.
In 32 years since they are married, for the first time, Howard has gone too suspicious and accused her for stealing food. He even threatened to call the police. “It broke my heart. That’s not him,” she said (as per the Time).
The disease is seen in around 5 million seniors in U.S. and dementia leads to memory loss, cognitive decline, and personality changes. For such individuals, coping with a natural disaster is really tough and terrifying. According to a study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of seniors suffering from the problem would grow up to 13.9 million by 2060. As for the storm, it can add a lot of confusion and disorientation along with some paranoia and anxiety.
People who suffer from such conditions tend to get confused in rush or alarming environment. It adds up anxiety and they are overstimulated by it. These individuals better operate in their usual environment.