Alzheimer's Disease affects 1 in 10 people over the age of 65. From it’s origin as abnormal protein fragments (plaques and tangles) to it’s slow and tedious end (death), Alzheimer's Disease take a toll on everyone it touches.
Swedish photographer Maja Daniels spent 3 years in Northern France, documenting life in the “protected unit” of geriatric hospital. Residents of the Alzheimer's ward become particularly interested in a set of locked doors, which separate them from the outside world.
Maya says that the locked door becomes the center of attention for the elders who question the obstruction and attempt to force it open. The daily struggle with the door, damaged due to repeated attempts to pick the lock, can last for hours.
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive related issues that interfere with ones daily life. According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Unfortunately, Alzheimer's Disease is fatal and today there is no known cure.
Maja Daniels' collection of photographs, titled “Into Oblivion” pulls back the curtain, and confronts the uncomfortable reality of Alzheimers and other dementia related illnesses. Alzheimer's Disease doesn't just affect those with the disease, it has a profound affect on family members and caregivers.
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Ms. Daniels told PBS that “The power of the project lies in its very strict viewpoint and simplistic storytelling.” She went on to say that “when you're experiencing this disease it's like the world is slowly fading.”
Even though there are activities and people rushing in and out to care for them, a large majority of the time is spent without much happening at all. So that silence is something I wanted to get across, partly because it felt like part of some interior silence as well. – photographer Maja Daniels talks with PBS, 12/1/16
About the project, Into Oblivion; “This project gives a rare insight to a part of the modern geriatric institution. It attempts to create a discussion about our institutionalized, modern way of living as well as the use of confinement as an aspect of care.” – Maja Daniels
Did you know: Up to 5 percent of people with Alzheimer's have early onset Alzheimer's (or younger-onset), which often appears in people age 40-50.
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The Alzheimer's Association reports that Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer's live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others.