Photos: The Alzheimer’s Disease decline
Photos: The Alzheimer’s Disease decline
Sept. 30, 2010: Bruce Vincent, at 48, suffers from a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's. Only about 2 percent of the estimated 5 million Americans with the disease have this kind.
August 1963: Vincent got his first set of wheels when he was about 15 months old.
April 1963: Bruce Vincent at about 11 months old, being held by his father, Bob Vincent, with his mother, Theresa behind him and sister Sally, about 2 years old.
Vincent, roughly 1 1/2 years old, with his mother, Theresa Vincent, and older sister, Sally, at their home in Westminster, MA.
June 1980: Vincent's high school graduation picture, taken from Oakmont Regional High School in Ashburnham, MA.
June 1980: Vincent and his then-high school sweetheart — soon to be his wife — Cindy LaCourse on the day of their graduation from high school
Sept. 15, 1981: Vincent, on the day of his wedding. He was 19 years old.
Vincent and his wife Cindy, also 19, pose on their wedding day.
Vincent, 26, holding eldest son Jeff (about 5 years old) on the left, and Brian, about 4 years old, on the right.
In August 2010, Vincent's doctors recommended that he take a test to ensure that his skills were sharp enough to continue driving. Among the questions that stumped him was one that required him to draw a picture of a clock showing 11:20. Vincent, who drove himself to the test, failed the exam and was advised by the testers to stop driving. He has not driven since, and even agreed — after much lobbying from Cindy — to sell his beloved Audi to his brother. But the lifelong car enthusiast, who reveled in taking his sons to auto shows, has yet to surrender his license. “He has been fine with the Alzheimer’s diagnosis and everything, but this driving issue has destroyed him,’’ his wife said. “He keeps bringing it up.’’
Sept. 23, 2010: Cindy Vincent waits while Bruce Vincent has his blood drawn by nurse Martha Vander Vliet.
Bruce and Cindy Vincent listen to senior research assistant Meghan Frey at Brigham and Women's Hospital, where they were for tests and a doctors visit as part of the research study he began with the hospital.
Sept. 30, 2010: Vincent stocks milk at Vincent's Country Store, his family’s grocery store in downtown Westminster.
As important as his family is, Vincent, until his diagnosis, was at the grocery store 11 hours a day, six days a week. “I’d like to work until I die,’’ he said. “I love work.’’
But after repeated problems ringing up customers’ orders, the family decided that he could no longer work the cash register. He also stopped ordering stock and balancing the books, after multiple instances of over-ordering some goods and shortfalls of others.
“If he worked for somebody else, and not a family business, he probably would have been let go or be demoted by now,’’ said Cindy Vincent during an interview with her husband by her side.
Sept. 30, 2010: Bruce Vincent sits with his dog Hans in his chair at home after work at his store.
Oct. 29, 2010: Bruce Vincent attends a support group for Alzheimer’s patients at the Alzheimer’s Association twice a month in Watertown.
Oct. 13, 2010: Bruce Vincent pictured in family photo album.
Dec. 12, 2010: Cindy Vincent speaks at an event called "Light Pru Purple" in the Belvidere Pavilion at the Prudential Center to raise awareness about the disease.
Bruce Vincent, Cindy Vincent, and their family at the Alzheimer's awareness rally.
Bruce Vincent clowning around before taking a family photo with his sister, Paula McGuirk, left, and wife, Cindy, after Cindy spoke at the rally.
Dec. 12, 2010: Jeff Vincent wears an Alzheimer's bracelet of hope.
Bruce Vincent with his daughter Danielle and his son's dog, Trooper, at his son Jeffery's house in Holden.
Vincent watches television with his daughter Danielle and his son Brian.
The entire family has adopted an elaborate plan to help him keep his long-standing Monday night volleyball date with his eldest son, Jeff, in a church league a half-hour away, since he can no longer drive. They begin by gathering on Monday nights at Jeff's house for dinner.
Then the two head out to the weekly game at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Holden.
While the game is about 30 minutes away from Bruce Vincent’s home, Jeff and the family hold tightly to this cherished ritual — now a crucial anchor in their disrupted lives.
In the past year, as Bruce Vincent’s decline hastened and his confusion grew more noticeable, his son confided in several teammates about his father’s diagnosis.
“I don’t want it to be an awkward situation for him,’’ said the son, a part-time Holden police officer. “Especially if I’m not there, and he doesn’t know the score, I wanted them to be aware of it.’’
After volleyball, Jeff drives Dad halfway home, to a rendezvous spot, where wife Cindy, often in pajamas, picks him up for rest of ride home.
March 2010: Brian Vincent picks up his father Bruce before work. Since Bruce was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, Brian has to get up early to drive him to work at the store.
Up at 5:15 for work, Brian rarely goes out with friends anymore because he is getting ready for bed when most are heading out for the evening. His mother has been trying to convince him to hire more help to ease the load.
Sept. 8, 2011: Vincent walks his dog with his stepmother-in-law, Joanne LaCourse, outside his home.
She spends one day a week keeping him company as he is transitioning out of his job due to the disease.
Vincent is a Westminster fixture, known not only as the town grocer, but as one of the first to step forward with donations and volunteer in community projects.
Sept. 8, 2011: Bruce's wife Cindy writes him a daily note every morning before she leaves for work.
Oct. 26, 2011: Vincent rakes leaves around his home, one the many tasks his wife will leave to keep him occupied during the day.
But recently, Cindy has run out of ideas to keep him busy and worries that he needs more meaningful activities to hold boredom and depression at bay.
All of the Vincent children stand a 50-50 percent chance that they inherited the gene for early Alzheimer's Disease from their father.
Oct. 26, 2011: Vincent talks to his wife Cindy at her shop. She later said, “He often apologizes to me that his disease affects my life so greatly, and that breaks my heart."