Saturday, September 01, 2012

Brothers in War, Brothers Even in Dementia

Even in dementia, Korean War medic cares for his men
NORTHPORT, N.Y. - August 31, 2012 - It's a story that makes you think, "What are the chances?" It started with a mystery at a nursing home we visited, "On the Road."

John Angerame says when you love someone with advanced dementia -- like his father has -- you can't help but wonder: Are they still in there?

John asks his dad Augie for even the littlest signs that he's present, like a wink or blink.

Fortunately, although Augie can't communicate, by all indications he is aware -- beyond words.

Augie Angerame served in the Korean War, in an artillery unit. He was a medic, which may partly explain his recent behavior at his VA nursing home on Long Island.

A few months ago, Augie started going into the room of another veteran with dementia named Frank Dibella.

"And I was like, 'What's this man doing?'" recalled Frank's daughter, Mary Rose Monroe. "He'd rub his back and then he'd walk away."

"Just check on him," John Angerame added, "like maybe a medic would do as he made rounds."

The kids agreed: It seemed like Augie was trying to care for Frank -- like he was back in the war. Frank didn't seem to mind. The staff eventually moved the two men into the same room.

And that's when John started putting the pieces together. read more>>>

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