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Doctors diagnosed Sandy Halperin with early onset Alzheimer's in 2010

Around the globe, more than 46 million people live with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia

Editor’s Note: Stephanie Smith is the author of the digital write. Sandee LaMotte is the author of the videos. CNN photographers Bryan Kane and Oliver Janney also contributed to this story.

Tallahassee, Florida CNN —  

Sandy Halperin closes his eyes. His expression is pensive, his mouth slightly upturned. Memories, like glints of light, dance inside his mind – a kind of neural film strip.

It is 1962. He is in a small neighborhood pharmacy in Springfield, Massachusetts. His father, the pharmacist, hands a customer a wooden nickel, good for a free cup of coffee while she waits. He sees his 12-year-old self standing over a towering hot fudge sundae at the soda counter. The smell of warming cashews and peanuts curls out of a corner machine.

Sandy Halperin's father, Leon, standing in his pharmacy. Leon died of Alzheimer's in 1998.