Am I Falling Down The Dementia Crevasse?

17 Comments

I have always said that the thing I fear the most is losing my mind. So every move I make, every false step, every outspoken word sets me on edge, giving me pause.

Is the thing I dread the most finally pursuing me down road, gaining momentum as I slow down?

The fear is something that has plagued me for years, even while I was still working. If I misspelled a word, or searched for a word in my head as I was speaking, I thought – uh-oh, here it comes.

Now, twenty-two years later, I still have most of my faculties, but the worry continues to plague me. So many things have popped out of my mouth, with no regard for the hurt they might cause. And once they are out there is no way to take them back. Is this an early sign of dementia?

I don't know – maybe.

A few years ago, I had made plans to join a group of friends for dinner. They were to pick me up at the pre-scheduled time, but I was shocked when my doorbell rang and there were my friends. I had completely forgotten the engagement.

It reminded me of the time I had invited a friend I had not seen in some time for lunch. She never showed up, never called to apologize. I learned a short time later that she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

There's that worry again.

I find myself in the middle of a book and have to look at the cover frequently to recall the name of the book or the author. Dementia? I hope not, but it isn't looking good.

I have IBS and when the problem raises its ugly head on a given day, I try to remember what I ate in the past day or two that may have set off the symptoms. Can't remember—I need a food diary to keep track of what I had for breakfast this morning.

It's not looking good.

Occasionally, I have found myself entering a department store that I have frequented for years and find myself totally disoriented as to where the section I need is located. It takes me several seconds and a bit of wandering before I am comfortable in the surroundings.

This is alarming. What if I drive out the driveway and end up in Timbuktu? It hasn't happened yet—but you never know.

I have sometimes run into a person I worked with for years and felt the need to introduce them to my husband. Can I come up with the name? No—it just isn't there. It's embarrassing and disconcerting—and scary. So far I haven't forgotten the names of any family members, but is that in my future? I pray not.

I am doing everything I can to keep my mind working; crossword puzzles, reading, taking life-long learning classes, writing, and socializing. Is it working? Maybe it's holding off the inevitable for a while, but who knows what is down the road.

I have had several relatives who have fallen down the crevasse that is called Alzheimer's or dementia. Am I going to follow into that foggy world?

In the meantime, I trust that my lovely editor and my readers will let me know if I begin to write gibberish. In the meantime, I continue to pray and worry.

Marlis describes herself as a “Gramma who loves technology and has a lot to say.” She blogs about whatever catches her interest: food, books, family and more. For AgingCare.com, she writes about the issues facing the elderly and her experiences caring for her husband, Charlie, who suffers from dementia.

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17 Comments

Sometimes our fears causes the problems we experience.We all get old and despite what you read in the media it's natural to forget.It happens to everyone.
Think of it this way;If it happens, there's nothing you can do about it so why worry and ruin your day?
If it's dementia,think about the positive side;every conversation will be new,every book will be read and re-read with the same enjoyment.If you forget someone's name call them darling,honey or whatever endearment you can think of at the moment.They will love it.If you find yourself suddenly experiences that feeling of "I'm lost" try taking a deep breath,look around and walk slowly in the direction you found yourself facing.Why? because part of your mind still knows where your going.Trust yourself.If you panic the confusion will last longer.I tell my mother (94) and myself that we can remember our name then all is well."Foggy" isn't all that bad.You tend to forget all the bad things in your life and remember all the good.Learn to laugh at yourself.I get lost in my own home a thousand times a day (too many things on my mind,the stress of caring for my mother etc) so I just sit down, or sing or turn on the TV. As soon as do I recall where and what I wanted to do.
Stop the focus on what could be or might be and live the now.


Marlis, another possibility is that you're doing so much that you don't know whether you're coming or going after a while. One of my mottos now is "and one more thing," referring to all the tasks I have to do during a day. All these little things we can do clutter our mind. I think reading and watching movies are good for us. I'm not so sure about crossword puzzles, because they can take us so inside ourselves and are choppy, instead of smooth. Hope that makes sense.
Thank You for sharing your thoughts & fears about Dementia. You are not alone- There are Many People asking themselves the same questions. My Dad just passed away 4 months ago.... Death Certificate Cause of Death :
Severe Dementia. The Cat Scan Taken a month
Prior Showed Severe Shrinkage of his Brain.
He never spent a day in ANY SORT of 'Facility.'
He carried on conversations.. Yes there were signs along the way.. But not the ones of HERES YOUR SIGN!! Type. Subtle for years then the last maybe 3 months The Clear Signs Were There.
His body was also 'shutting down'. He passed peacefully after arriving home from the hospital.
Hospice was set up - but not needed.. He closed his eyes after getting hugs from the family. He was 81 yrs old. Why did I share this?
Please: Dont obcess over the moment, Stress & Worry will cause more damage to our Health .
Be aware, Denial is counter productive ALWAYS.
Nurture Yourself so your body & mind have the best chance of being healthy. But please dont miss the Good Moments of NOW obcessing over
Something that may take years to manifest in full.
We can only do , what we can do. Dont allow Fear to Take Over Your Life, Live Your Life Now.