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In the late '90's, I was a caregiver for my mother and my husband. They both had Alzheimer's disease at the same time. (My husband was 18 years older than me.) I had to place my mother in a nursing home, as I couldn't care for both in my home.

I know the signs and devastation of the disease, and now that I am 77 years old, I question some of my decisions and a lot of my forgetfulness. I sometimes feel as if I need a "keeper"-- but wonder if this feeling is simply a result of being so close to this problem for so long. Do other older people worry about "losing it" also?

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I'd say that people who are facing real cognitive deficits aren't open about it and don't question whether dementia is setting in...I think that speaks to your overall mental health. My mom has no short-term memory and I think about that frequently and wonder how I'd cope if I come to that point in later life. I'm going to work very hard to make sure that doesn't happen, if I can help it.
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Thank you all for your insight. Every answer was appreciated. I do have a wonderful network of family and friends who will watch me closely for signs of deterioration! (Teasing!) It is helpful to know that perhaps I'm not alone with these feelings of doubt.
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FF, my grocery list is also ordered by the floor plan. But I don't think it's because we have memory issues - it's because we're so efficient! Laying out plans in order of progression is good business practice!
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sherbut67, welcome to the club.... I think most of who have been doing some type of caregiving find ourselves having blank moments where we can't remember things. Like this morning I forgot the name of the organic grocery store that I like ... the name came to me but it took a few minutes.

The way I look at it our brains can only hold so much material... think of it like having a lot of file cabinets and those cabinets are full once we become seniors ourselves. Then we try to squeeze in stuff we have to know about our spouse/parent.... not only do we have to remember our own pills, but also their pills.... not only remember our own grocery list, but their list, too.... and let's throw in a dozen more doctors into the mix.... etc.

At work my boss is having senior moments and so am I, but he laughed saying between the two of us there should be one good brain :P

I depend big time on my kitchen calendar... I only make appointments if I am staring at that calendar. I use to go grocery shopping not using a list, well that successful feat disappeared a few years ago, now I need a written list and it has to be in the order of the store's floor plan.

Currently I am struggling watching my Mom with quickly accelerated dementia [within one month went from Stage 1 to the final stage] and it scares the daylights out of me. I never witnessed anything like this before. It has consumed me.
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Maggie's insight is spot on. Caregiving is emotionally demanding; I used to think that working for difficult people was (one of my bosses I'm sure had ADHD, but he also was the most controlling and erratic person I'd ever worked for, withholding information necessary to complete a project), but it's nothing like caregiving.

We're not prepared for it, we don't take classes on it, it's not in any educational curriculum, so we're literally learning as we go, although it's much more helpful now that the Internet provides us with access to so much knowledge.

In some ways I think of caregiving when I see nature videos of violent weather, thrashing seas tipping sea going vessels literally over on their sides, or horrendous tornadoes whipping through towns....we're caught up in it, and sometimes it moves faster than we can cope. But then there are quiet almost peaceful moments. At least that's the way I often feel.

When crises occur when we go into rapid response mode, and sometimes stay that way until the crisis is either under control or segues into another phase. During those times, it's often hard to focus on other issues.

Sherbut, you've had a unique situation with a parent and a spouse. That's got to be challenging.

I hope you're setting aside respite time for yourself, especially something engrossing and relaxing as that helps sweep away the stress cobwebs from the brain, at least it does for me.

I too forget, and don't comprehend some things as well as I used to. Jigsaw puzzles, reading, creating math problems all help because they require focus and take my mind off caregiving. I try to read either fiction or gardening magazines before bedtime to clear my mind. It often works and I wake up so refreshed in the morning that new ideas literally flow through my mind.

That happened this morning, whereas yesterday, I was frantically looking for the cell phone charger for my father's phone when I had already found it and put it on the dining room table. I didn't even realize I had picked it up. Another "duh" moment or just a stressful day? I still was worried when I got home after an unsettling event, so I apparently didn't know what I was doing.

I was thinking this morning that if the psychiatric organizations haven't found a caregiving syndrome with a nice fancy name, they're missing the boat.
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I'm 68 years old. My decision-making has taken lumps of late, but I don't chalk it up to beginning dementia. My temperament has changed. I'm no longer the hard-driving career woman I once was. I'm much more laid back and patient. That's not ALWAYS a good thing!

I forget more than I used to so I've compensated by using my calendar faithfully and getting my money's worth out of my smart phone . . . For alarms, reminders, shopping lists. Oh! And sticky notes.

I think we lose our edge as we age...but there's quite a bit of edge to lose before we're in dementia territory. I also figure that when I really slip into dementia, I won't know it. Ha!

Hopefully you have your ducks in a row...a will, durable power of attorney... healthcare power of attorney...living will. And hopefully you've had good discussions with the people you've named to represent you if you need their help so that they know your wishes.

If you DON'T have these things already in place, I heartily suggest you get crackin'! But no sense worrying about something over which you have no control. That's just a waste of a great day.
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