by James Oliphant
From USA Today comes the rather stunning tale of former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor and her husband, who suffers from Alzheimer’s.
John O’Connor, 77, who lives in facility that provides him with full-time care, has apparently found a new romance with a woman who also lives at the Phoenix home.
The item is written by Joan Biskupic, who is Sandra Day O’Connor’s biographer, and cites an Arizona TV report that quotes O’Connor’s son, Scott, saying “Mom was thrilled that Dad was relaxed and happy and comfortable living here and wasn’t complaining.” The woman was referred to as “Kay.” He also compared his father to a "teenager in love."
It isn’t uncommon for Alzheimer’s sufferers to develop romantic attachments to those who are part of their circle, the article says. But anyone who has read about O’Connor’s devotion to her husband (it was the reason she retired from the high court in 2005) and about the high-spirited social life the two shared in Phoenix before O’Connor joined the court couldn’t help but feel some pronounced empathy for her situation.
She appears to be handling it with grace. “Justice O’Connor is certainly to be commended. . . for raising awareness and helping to reduce stigmas,” says Peter Reed, who directs Alzheimer’s programs in Chicago, in the USA Today story.