Movie raising awareness of young-onset Alzheimer’s

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – An award-winning movie opening next week in Buffalo is raising awareness for a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease.

Julianne Moore has already won a Golden Globe and is the front-runner for a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of a 50-year-old woman diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
An estimated 4 percent of all Alzheimer’s cases are what’s also called “young-onset” meaning the person is under 65 years old.

A 54 year old woman from Snyder sat down with News 4 to describe what it was like when the initial symptoms surfaced — and how it’s been for her family ever since. Claudia Catalano Lasting says people may not realize, the disease doesn’t just affect memories. She sometimes has trouble using a zipper or a can-opener — skills people use without thinking twice. When it surfaced, it felt like she had several learning disorders all at once.

“I just thought I was kind of going crazy. And it was hard for my husband, because he was ‘Why are you doing that?’ — and it’s just hard,” Catalano Lasting said. “I’m hoping that i can stretch it out enough that i can see something or be a grandma someday or something.”

“For this movie, the portrayal is beautiful. The story is beautiful. I think a lot of people can relate to this character and what she’s going through, I think people can understand and relate to,” said Leilani Pelletier, executive director of the WNY Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Claudia’s advice to others recently diagnosed is to seek out the Alzheimer’s Association of Western New York because they have many resources for families.

The movie ‘Still Alice’ opens in Buffalo Friday at the Dipson theater on Main Street by the UB south campus.

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