Hello all, my FIL has been unofficially diagnosed with Alzheimers/Dementia.
He is 90 yo.
When his was nearly 80, he suffered a heart attack and had 6 bypasses and a replaced heart valve. He spent a month in the hospital, miraculously survived and came out slower and older, but seemingly unscathed mentally. That year they moved into our town because Mom "didn't want to do something like that again without help."
They lived in their own home for 3 years and moved to Independent Living because Dad was tired of taking care of the yard and Mom tired of looking after the house.
Dad started to have trouble walking and it was becoming obvious that he was struggling to look after their accounts/bills.

He ended up in the hospital for 10 day in the Spring of 2018 for appendicitis (fought with antibiotics). Rehab for 3 weeks. Really never the same after that.
Moved to Assisted Living with Mom.
Fall of 2018, had his appendix removed! Rehab for a month.

Absolutely, not even close to the same man. Wheelchair bound. All of his daily living activities are attended by those where he lives.

My question---did those of your loved ones with ALZ/Dementia have hospitalizations and ill health before things got bad? Do folks in great health (overall) just slowly develop ALZ without some sort of medical incident?

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For all those bedridden days there  becomes muscle loss in the elderly that may not come back to normal. Prolonged hospitaizations can also cause depression an failure to thrive.
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My Mom was healthy pretty much. The first thing I noticed was she didn't reason well. She had already given me the responsibility of paying her bills. Next was being able to process and overwhelmed easier. Then she had a fall and a head injury. She started a steady decline. Her license was taken away. It took six years of steady decline when she passed fro Dementia. Your Dads open heart surgery may have started things. The longer they are under the more memory they loose. Even though he survived, it was a shock to his system. 80 is not young and they don't bounce back as well. Each time they go under, they have problems coming back. If he had Dementia the surgerys did make it worse. First ALZ is different than Dementia. I just read its considered a deasease and Dementia isn't. It also tends to run in families. Dementia can be caused by a number of things. Smoking, head injury, drinking. Its more like damage to the brain. Certain meds contribute to Dementia like statens.
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Most kinds of dementia grow many years, sometimes decades, in the brain before symptoms show.

While a stroke may be a precursor to Vascular Dementia, who knows what was happening before Alzheimers started developing 27 years ago? In the "stages" for dementia the first is often listed as no impairments. That is, an autopsy at this point might show the plaques and tangles have already started, but there were no obvious symptoms yet.

I think it possible (this is just speculation on my part) that if the dementia impairments have already started developing in the brain, then some trauma may bring some symptoms to the surface. But having appendicitis, for example, does not cause plaques and tangles (or other abnormalities such as the mutant protein bodies of LBD) to form in the brain.

As far as science seems to know so far, it is possible to develop ALZ without some sort of medical incident.
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I can't speak to previous hospitalizations, as my mother has been as healthy as a horse. She's 95 now and has slowed to a crawl.

As for developing Alzheimer's without any pre-existing condition, that's her. She has no heart trouble, nor high BP, diabetes or any other illness or condition.
She smoked for 45 years.
It was noticible when she turned 90 and had a lumpectomy on her breast. I don't believe her dementia worsened due to the procedure.

The elderly are very susceptible to confusion and debilitation after surgeries. It seems the more surgery, the more the post-op confusion.
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