I suppose I don't have to tell anyone here that caring for my 80 year old mom with AD is consuming. I've educated myself about the disease and how to care for her. I'm 50 and don't have any obvious signs, but at times I worry. My husband's father was diagnosed at 78, but died of unrelated issues & I worry for him also. Both our parents were avid readers, did crossword puzzles, took care of their health and didn't have any risk factors. Yikes.
I worried after my husband died of dementia. My memory was shot. I tried paying for my groceries with my library card. I did many weird things that scared me. A psychologist and a psychiatrist each assured me while this form of mourning was not common it was perfectly legitimate. I expected my emotions to be all over the place. Instead I was emotionally calm but cognitively very confused. And it did clear up.
California, Colorado, Washington D.C., Montana, Vermont, Washington.
There are some odd conditions that I have read in some states. For example when you see the Doctor and express your wishes to be able to terminate your life they can give you a prescription for medication that will end your life but if you reach the point where you can not administer the medication yourself someone else can not give you the medication.
I am sure that some of these regulations will change.
And there is a distinct difference between Medically Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. The Medically Assisted Suicide the person administers medication and in the case of Euthanasia medication is administered by someone else.
I am my bedridden husband’s sole caregiver. I handle the finances and the household responsibilities. He has many health issues for me to worry about. I worry that I will stroke out or have a heart attack from the incredible stress in my life. Yikes!
I see my physician regularly. I try to eat healthy and occasionally take time just for me. I do all I can NOT to worry. There aren’t enough hours in the day! Take good care of yourself. Don’t sweat the small stuff. One day at a time.
I have become more concerned since the medications I must take to help get me through the day for fibromyalgia also effect memory.
Before these medications, family members would call me to get the answer to a discussion or debate they were having with friends.
My memory with faces, names, political figures and just history itself is no longer what it was.
I become frustrated with myself because I can open the file drawers in my brain, but I don't always find the correct file.
Trivial Pursuit (the original game) has always been my favorite; so much so that my husband refused to play as an opponent. Now, facts that I knew are harder to remember now.
Thankgoodness for spell check too! OMG, my spelling has become atrocious!
I'm 64 yrs young, but at this point, I refuse to be tested. My Mother has dementia at 85 yrs young and I'm doing everything I can do right now to help her and protect her from family members; I don't need to know that I maybe leaving the depot and heading down that same track.
What level is the car on??!!, I paid for but forgot to grab the ice, again, dang it i forgot to buy the ice. So for me, i just don't worry about it. The things that are important seem to create an imprint and other stuff is just so much fodder, im used to looking for my coffe cup or not being able to find the right words at times. I do see a huge increase of these traits when my stress is high, so I do my best to not let stress get to me, if I find myself losing my peace, I personally know I need to spend more time with my Lord. All my life is in His hands and if in His wisdom decides I must travel that path, then I know He will keep me, even in dementia. He has given us sound minds to do all things, like sensible diets, exercise, moderation and avoiding things we know will destroy our bodies. One day at a time, I don't know if I have tomorrow so why worry about decades.
However all who do due diligence in not smoking, not drinking, using sun protection & other life choices are going the right way because it could be heritary but remember you can still have an accident so also keep you brakes at their best too!
I did my own research by climbing the family tree and locating death certificates to see what was the cause of death of generations ago. On my Dad's side it was pretty much heart related issues. I inherited my parents hypertension.
One also needs to dig up newspaper articles regarding a DNA linked relative to get to the background, or ask elderly relatives who may have heard from decades ago about a certain relative.
My great-great-grandfather died of dementia [senility] according to his death certificate, but it was due from a serious farming accident where he lost oxygen to a point where it damaged his brain according to a very old newspaper and family notes.
Other issues to look out for, a relative may have been branded as senile, when in fact they had lost their hearing. My Mom was like that, others probably thought she had major dementia but Mom just couldn't hear any more, hearing aids no longer helped.... thus whenever she was asked a question she would get this quiz-able look of confusion. Heck, Mom could still balance her checkbook and write eloquent letters into her early 90's.
All in all, the family DNA test itself was very interesting. Those larger % of certain countries were right on the mark. The much smaller 1% or 2% where "say what?" moments... those probably from hundreds of years ago.
It's too late to help my mom- she loved her wine, ice cream and was obsessed with Pepsi. You have to start helping yourself why you still have enough brain to understand why you are doing what you are doing. You have to be your own researcher and find answers to avoid this dreaded disease and be willing to make the dietary changes that most people are too emotionally attached to, to let go of. At this point, the mainstream doctors don't have the answers, they are taught to prescribe pharmaceuticals, not prevent disease.
Sorry, to blab on and on. I'm just really passionate about this subject matter because dementia and alzheimer's are not a normal part of aging. I've seen the horrors of what my sweet and beautiful mom has gone through. We need to get our brains healthy and do it before it is too late.
Anyway, I found out there's a link between stress and memory loss. There's also a link between getting 5 hours or less of sleep a night and memory loss. So now I shoot for at least 6, more on the weekend. Also found out there's a link between aspartame and Alzheimer's. I used to drink gallons of diet coke. Also, aluminum pans, so I got rid of those.
But it's been a long, long haul. It's been triage. It's been survival, putting one foot in front of the other. And at times, it's scary.
I think of how a childless, mid-40s woman with a slightly older husband can mitigate the possibility of ending up like my mother. After all, my mother has me to care for her. Who will I have. I think about LTC insurance, Continuing Care Communities, etc. But no amount of money or planning can make a CNA clean your butt thoroughly when no one will ever know the difference. I've seen the people who go into the nursing homes with no family. They die sooner.
I'm so sorry to be Debbie Downer today. Just my mood, but yes, even at my age, which some would consider "young," when I forget something I would have remembered in my 20s, I panic.
At this point I have lived past the age of my Mom and my Dad. My Mom died when I was 11 my Dad died 4 years later. My Grandma lived past 90 and sharp as a tack! (I think it must have been the old Canadian stock she came from) Both parents and Grandma died of smoking related cancer. (guess what I don't do)
My husband died of dementia. The diagnosis was Alzheimer's but I think he may also have had Vascular as well. Neither of his parents had dementia, both died of cancers.
I have decided if I am diagnosed I will move to a state where medical assisted suicide is legal. There is no way I would put anyone through what I went through with my Husband. And to know I would be loosing a bit of what makes me ME every day, every month and year is not something that I want to go through. Born and raised Catholic but no longer "practicing" I know this is something that is "wrong" but this is just another thing that the church and I do not see eye to eye on. They will not change their mind and neither will I so I remain a non practicing Catholic.....
On a happier note I am active, I keep busy, sometimes too busy I am past the age that my Husband was when he was diagnosed and I had seen little signs for a few years prior so at this point I guess I am alright.
Scary, seeing my brilliant mother affected. I too looked into research. I discovered years ago that I could reverse a genetic predictor of coronary heart disease (which runs rampant on my father's side) by following the Dean Ornish program. I was diagnosed in '05 but no longer have it as the plaque is gone. Then, I heard about the Blue Zones, several places in the world where quality longevity is common and there is virtually no dementia.
I read The Alzheimers Solution. These research doctors wondered why people in Loma Linda CA (turns out, one of the Blue Zones) do not get dementia. Basically, the plant-based diet, social connectiveness, stress-managing, and throughout-the-day movement (you don't have to run marathons!) are the keys. Im trying their advice. Personally, I felt I was starting to become forgetful. But, lately I've noticed these little things....leaving a clothing or reading article, glasses, purse somewhere and REMEMBERING where! What joy! So, who knows? I'm pushing 70 now. Every day, my husband and do some sort of activity for well over an hour. Walking, biking, (skiing or alpine). I took up golf 5 years ago to stimulate balance, rhythm, and mental acuity. My PCP retired and I researched 50 doctors in order to select one that is knowledgeable and promotes such things. During my first appointment, she mentioned Perlmutter, Andrew Weil, and that a patient had just given her The Alzheimers Solution to read. My former doctor told me years ago that Ornish was a scam (I think he came around eventually) so I am glad to find someone who is supportive.
I hope my post is helpful and wish everyone a future without this horrible disease.
It helped me immensely. Yes, I was having issues, but not dementia, and he quickly told me what was really going on (besides taking care of someone with it). Two of my meds interacted to cause brain changes, my sleep apnea mask was probably leaking, and I had mild depression, the kind that exercise and self-care would help. Taking care of myself, and getting my paperwork organized, are two things I can do, then letting go of the unknown future (not easy!) I am fortunate to have options with my aunt. Good luck everyone, and we are normal to have concerns.