Alzheimer's Support Network



David Kramer, M.D. is a retired emergency room physician.
  Two years ago Dr. Kramer was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.  This forced his early retirement from practicing medicine.  Since his diagnosis, Dr. Kramer has been a leading patient advocate and a strong voice in raising public awareness about the disease.   Dr. Kramer has agreed to publish occasional articles for the Alzheimer's Support Network.   We will collect them here on this page.


Jan 2015:   Alzheimer's Athlete in Training  (The Power of Routine) 

Alzheimer Athlete in Training

by David Kramer, M.D.


The Alzheimers Support Network in Naples, Florida has asked me to write about my approach to training for when my disease progresses. I am 59 years old and am at least in stage three (maybe inching up on stage four) of this complex disease. As a retired physician, I have researched the hell out of Alzheimers and have a pretty good idea of what is heading my way. Its not pretty.


Tiffany, my wife and caregiver, and I both want me to live at home for as long as possible (at least I think she does). I have no desire to be a burden on her and certainly do not want her to have to put up with the challenging symptoms of the later stages of the disease.  I always want to treat her well and be loving to her. I never want to hurt her or make her life difficult. She didnt sign up for this disease and I cant stand the thought of her being in pain (either physically or emotionally).


One of the common issues that arises as Alzheimers progresses is the inability of the patient to take care of his activities of daily living (ADLs). That simply sucks, to put it mildly. Although it is significantly more difficult for an Alzheimers patient to learn new things, there is substantial evidence that it can be done. It takes more time and energy, and lots of repetition, but it is possible. So I am like an athlete in training. Im working on developing the muscle memoryto do my ADLs (and everything else) without having to think about them.


Routine is key. I make sure I am doing things the same way, in the same sequence every time. When I brush my teeth, I cover every surface in the same order each time. A random approach, while fine for the normal brains among us, cannot be counted on for those of us with Alzheimers disease. When I shower, I make sure to clean everything in the same order every damn time. Hit and miss just wont cut it. My at home longevitydepends on me making it as easy as possible for Tiffany to put up with, I mean take care of, me.


Routine certainly extends beyond the ADLs. I put everything in the same place every time. Even my chores (which I love to do, honey) are routine and sequenced. Towels folded. Laundry put away. Dishwasher filled, soap added with measuring spoon conveniently stored on top of box, onbutton pushed, startbutton pushed, dishwasher emptied, contents put away in same order and same place each time. What a pain in the ass. I mean what fun! The key is to make it all routine, everything on autopilot.


Well, there you have it. With any luck I will be a finely tuned Alzheimer Athlete; ready to live longer at home and not become a burden on my wife. To be safe, lets call me a work in progress!

Printable Version of  Article:   Alzheimer Athlete in Training


Dr. Kramer has his own Facebook group called:  Living Well with Alzheimer's.  Click the photo above or the link below:


 Alzheimer's from the
 Patient's Perspective

Video interviews of patients with Alzheimer's talk openly about the challenges they face, what helps, treatment by others, and much more.

This segment discusses the First Signs.

     Click for More


 Live Panel:  Alzheimer's from the Patient's Perspective
     Workshop  from June 26th 2014   
Click Here
Dr. Kramer at the Alzheimer's Association Walk,  Nov 2014: