Living with Alzheimer’s

Imagine waking up in the morning in a dark room with very little light. As you get out of bed your joints are stiff, your vision is blurred. Due to the stiffness in your hands, it is difficult to button your shirt. You try to complete a crossword puzzle, but it is hard to concentrate with the television running and the sound of rain outdoors. These are just a few struggles that those with dementia may cope with on a daily basis.

Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior, affects more than five million Americans. Often the first sign of Alzheimer’s is the inability to remember newly learned information. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s usually develop slowly and gradually worsen, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

The majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. While increased age is a risk factor for the disease, Alzheimer’s symptoms do differ from normal age-related memory changes.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but a number of treatments are available to reduce the severity of symptoms. The Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center has more information about resources and community support available in the Fort Myers area.

Shell Point’s Lifecare residents have access to the Memory Care Center and a host of behavioral health services at the Larsen Pavilion, resources for caregivers, and support groups. To find out more about Lifecare at Shell Point, visit

About Chris Votolato, Psy.D, Director of Behavioral Health, Shell Point Retirement Community

Dr. Chris Votolato has been with Shell Point since 2007. Dr. Votolato received his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the American School of Professional Psychology in Washington, D.C. His undergraduate degree from Loyola College and his master’s degree from the University of Baltimore are both in the field of Psychology. In addition to his administrative role at Shell Point, Dr. Votolato provides both therapeutic and neurocognitive services to geriatric patients in outpatient, long-term and acute rehabilitation care, and nursing home settings. He has special interests in memory and cognition, as well as stress and anxiety. He has presented to a wide variety of audiences from consumer groups to police officers, on a range of topics related to mental illness and stress.