Portland, Maine — One of the neat things about every job I've had is the friendship that has always developed from unexpected sources. Of course, co-workers and business associates have become great friends and acquaintances. But serendipitous relationships have happened from places that aren't expected.
My current assignment is no exception. Overseeing five Assisted Living Memory Care Communities in Illinois and Texas the last few months has led to meeting many family members of residents whose spouse or parent has some form of dementia or Alzheimer's. I've come to really respect what these people go through, having a loved one saddled with one of these dreaded diseases.
Among these amazing people I've met is Bruce. He is married to Tina, a hospital-based registered nurse. Tina has FTD, a fast growing and devastating form of dementia that I had never heard of before. Frontotemporal Dementia is the most devastating and least understood form of dementia. With FTD, there is progressive nerve cell loss in the brain's frontal lobes or temporal lobes.
FTD is the No. 1 form of dementia under age 60.
Bruce is a retired high school teacher and an avid Chicago Bears fan. We have become very good friends. I let him know early on, that I'm a Detroit Lions fan. "It's no problem Ted,” he told me. "I only distain Green Bay Packer Fans. There's only two Chicago Bear games a year that are important to me - when the Bears play the Packers."