“You have the beginnings of Alzheimer’s disease…”

The words haunted Ray and Carmel Ayotte. They are high school sweethearts, raised a family and were looking forward to their golden years. Carmel facing a struggle with Alzheimer’s was not in the plan.

“Early on, it was difficult to talk about getting this diagnosis without making a puddle on the floor,” shared Ray at a recent event to support HealthPartners Center for Memory & Aging. “We are learning that there are many others just like us, experiencing the same feelings as we are, and that there is life after the diagnosis.”

The Ayottes are part of a HealthPartners Institute clinical intranasal insulin trial that researchers hope will slow down progression of the disease that robs people of their precious memories. “The National Institutes of Health has identified our intranasal insulin treatment as one of the most promising treatments,” said Dr. William Frey, lead HealthPartners Center for Memory & Aging investigator.

Frey’s team has invented and patented other Alzheimer’s treatments as well.

“We have created a new frontier allowing us to treat neurological disorders in ways that have never been done before,” Dr. Frey said.

For Ray and Carmel, every day together is a gift. As he shared their journey through Alzheimer’s to a crowd of people, Ray used a quote from Downton Abbey. It brings him to tears, but also gives him hope that someday this research will make a difference for people who face the same diagnosis as his wife, Carmel.

“The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end, that is all there is.”

Watch the video about Ray and Carmel and the groundbreaking research going on at HealthPartners Center for Memory & Aging.