Harvard Magazine (September 1, 2013): Coping with Alzheimer's

Publication Date: 
Sun, 09/01/2013

In the summer of 2006 Harvard professor emerita Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz, '44, RI'69 - long revered for her work on the history of public health and for promoting women at Harvard (she was among the earliest full female professors and the first female House master) - called her daughter, baffled. "She was having trouble making a salad," recalls Debby Rosenkrantz. Was it a case of low blood sugar, or maybe related to a recent arm rash? "I came over with some orange juice and helped her finish making the dinner."

Yet other worrisome signs followed:  Garbled e-mails, irrational arguments, insomnia. "And she had notes to herself and friends posted all over the house," adds Rosenkrantz, a social worker in Cambridge. "My stepfather was very busy trying to keep things from unraveling. They were very much in love and had gotten married late in life, when she was in her 60s and he was 71.