A Father, a Son, a Disease, and a Camera

Cheney Orr was 21 when his father received a diagnosis of early-onset’s disease in 2011. His father, David, was just 62, and the son felt he had never quite known him as an adult. The camera offered a way to bridge that gap. It was an excuse to visit regularly and a portal through which to understand the disease.

“There was also a level of guilt just to spend more time with him and get him out of his isolating hole of an apartment,” the younger Mr. Orr, who is now 27, said.

Alzheimer’s presented a story with characters and plot twists. There were the attendants who watched David Orr around the clock, and a padlock that went up on the door after Mr. Orr wandered from the apartment a few times, a phenomenon that is given the discordant name of elopement.

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