Pansy Greene, 73, is one of 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease. She and her husband, Winston, say that their daily lives have changed little despite the diagnosis.
Right now, 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. One of them is 73-year-old Pansy Greene. She’s in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and she and her husband, Winston, want people to know that so far, their daily lives have changed little despite the diagnosis.
They sit side by side on a loveseat in their den, each with a dog in his or her lap to cut down on the barking. That makes it easier for the Greenes to talk about what they call their “journey,” a term that refers to much more than Pansy’s struggle with Alzheimer’s; it describes the partnership that began when they met at a party as teenagers.
“He didn’t let go of me the whole night,” recalls Pansy. “He wouldn’t let anybody else dance with me.” He asked for her phone number. “I guess I gave it to him,” she says with a laugh.
Pansy and Winston Greene got married when she was 16 and he was 18. They raised three daughters and spent their entire careers in the aerospace industry. Winston worked on the B-1 bomber; Pansy worked on the space shuttle. They now have the kind of retirement people dream of: a comfortable suburban home with a view of the hills north of Los Angeles. It’s close to two of their daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.