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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 9th June 2017 > THE STRAINED QUALITY

THE STRAINED QUALITY

AS RURAL AMERICA FACES AN ONSLAUGHT OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE, SOME STATES HAVE FOUND A RADICAL WAY TO HELP
FAR FROM ANYWHERE: Dave Aman and his wife live in the small town of Ontario, New York, where they have spent their entire lives. They had just sold their farm and were beginning to enjoy retirement when his symptoms started.

JUNE AMAN NO LONGER LAUGHS WHEN HER HUSBAND TEASES HER, WHICH HE DOES FAIRLY OFTEN.

When she complains about how long it takes Dave to ix something, he says she never told him she was in a hurry. When she says he has no one else to pick on, he responds, “You poor thing.” Sometimes, he speaks about her beauty in the past tense and doesn’t correct it when she needles him about it.

She stiffens when the man she has been married to for the past 56 years pokes at her. His stings hurt June, but they also worry her, because she’s not sure when he’s kidding or when he’s covering up his inability to contribute anything else to the conversation. Three years ago, Dave was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. And when he jokingly says of the doctors who made the diagnosis, “What do they know?” the knot inside June tightens.

Dave and June were born three days apart and have known each other since they were 10, growing up across the street from each other in the northern reaches of New York state. They dated as teenagers, married at 18 and raised six children. They still hold hands and gaze into each other’s eyes, but these days the look in Dave’s eyes is cloudy and glazed. He seems absent, and it’s hard to tell if he’s following a conversation or just pretending to. And June never knows when his teasing is done with endearment or when it’s hiding the fact that his mind is eroding.

Soon, Dave will probably forget who June is. Already, he is incontinent, unable to dress himself and occasionally verbally abusive. They had just sold their farm and begun enjoying their retirement when Dave’s symptoms began. “I get angry with God,” June says.

June and Dave live in the small town of Ontario, New York— just a couple of miles from the shores of Lake Ontario, where they’ve spent their entire lives. The region was covered in farmland until not too long ago. Rochester, the closest city, is just 25 miles away. But the Amans grew up surrounded by crops and orchards, square dancing with their families for weekend entertainment, and with little access to transportation. Their decades of country living make Rochester seem like another world. June and Dave are rural Americans living in rural America.

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THE FOREVER WAR: WHY ISIS IS SENDING IT'S KILLERS TO THE WEST Oralando, Nice, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Würzburg, Ansbach, Munich, London and now Manchester. The pattern is becoming depressingly familiar. The news breaks with blurry cellphone footage pedestrians strolling on a seaside promenade, shoppers enjoying a Christmas market, excited kids leaving a pop concert. Then come the gunshots, a rampaging truck or the jolting explosion followed by panic, people running, inert bodies. Within the hour, politicians are on the air with a litany of condemnations and condolences. The reality is, until the West crushes ISIS’s ideology, bombings like the one in Manchester are going to continue and maybe become more common.
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