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Old 05-08-2014, 07:06 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazel W View Post
I think it has also been shown that the rapid increase of Alzheimers has been concurrent with the rapid increase of the older population. Nothing surprising there. A matter of numbers. What gets my attention is the younger age at which alzheimers is hitting. Why?
You're more likely to get Alzheimer's as you get older. So - as medicine figures out ways to keep us alive longer - we'll wind up with more people with Alzheimer's. My late mother's family is a good example of that. Pre-bypass surgery - many people in her family used to die very young from heart disease (50's/60's). In her generation - just about everyone wound up with 1 or 2 bypass operations. And wound up living to 80+. So diseases that almost no one ever got old enough to get in the past (including Alzheimer's and colon cancer) surfaced.

Also - if we look back at our grandparents' generation (mine were born in the late 19th century) - a fair number had what I'd describe as early onset Alzheimer's - but died perhaps in their 70's or early 80's from something else. Today - modern medicine may delay that death from "something else" for 5-10+ years - so more people live long enough to progress to the moderate to severe Alzheimer's stages.

As for the diagnosis stuff - perhaps it's simply an issue of getting more medical care - and paying more attention to things people never used to pay much attention to. Or sticking a "disease label" on things that were previously accepted as a usual part of the aging process (grandma was "forgetful" - perhaps "senile" - but mom has "Alzheimer's"). Especially if there are expensive drugs (like Aricept) that drug companies are pushing for people who are diagnosed with certain diseases. Same reasons that we now have so many more diagnosed cases of autism - ADHD - etc. Robyn
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Old 05-08-2014, 07:42 AM
 
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All good points. Yes. I want to stress that I'm referring to people who are, one way or another, taking more pills than are being prescribed in a lot of cases. Some are over the counter. One friend had to take iron supplements during her pregnancies. Right. Many women do. But she continued hers all her life. Doctor told her any number of times that she needed to stop, that she was overloaded with iron. She didn't stop and she did develop alzheimers. I am not making a definite connection here. I am saying I'd like to see good research on dementia and how much medicine the victims took. I could be totally wrong here. It's just something I noticed.
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
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This isn't a topic I'm familiar with at all. I've never researched Alzheimer's, nor do I have any family members that have died from it or been diagnosed with it.

The gentleman I was referring to in the OP posted a picture of his parents at his wedding, which was probably at least five years ago. The father looked like he was late 60s-early 70s THEN and his dad easily looked like he could the man's grandfather and the mom's dad. I had no idea the man was as old as he appeared to be, so maybe this wasn't so far out of line.

Out of the people I know who have had Alzheimer's, almost all were in professions that were not mentally demanding or were stay at home wives, FWIW.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:02 AM
 
16,437 posts, read 19,155,288 times
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Originally Posted by Emigrations View Post

Out of the people I know who have had Alzheimer's, almost all were in professions that were not mentally demanding or were stay at home wives, FWIW.
That's interesting. There was a 50 year study done of a group of nuns which clearly showed that the most mentaly active ones fared much better than the couch potatoes. The ones that learned other languages, how to play musical instruments, etc., actually even lived about six years longer. Food for thought!
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:35 AM
 
10,819 posts, read 8,075,211 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazel W View Post
I think it has also been shown that the rapid increase of Alzheimers has been concurrent with the rapid increase of the older population. Nothing surprising there. A matter of numbers. What gets my attention is the younger age at which alzheimers is hitting. Why?
One contributing factor may be the increased awareness, reporting, and statistics. Could be that the # of persons suffering early dementia has stayed fairly level, but that it wasn't diagnosed/reported.

We have no way to know how many people there have been throughout the centuries and decades who were afflicted with it. Many terms would have been used to describe it.

I vividly remember the first time I heard of alzheimers. In the early 1970s, an older co-worker's wife (in her early 50s) exhibited bizarre symptoms for quite some time. He doggedly researched and sought medical help for several years before receiving the diagnosis. It was the first he or anyone in our large metro area had ever heard of the condition or term. He went on to found one of the first support groups in the state.
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Northern panhandle WV
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Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
My best advice to you. Unless you have more than a fair amount of financial resources - or family can help you out - get yourselves on the waiting list (which may be very long) for the best possible SNF in your area that accepts Medicaid (WRT your husband - many SNFs won't accept men < 65 - but there's no harm starting to plan now). So - you might have a place to go when you need it (after spending down to qualify for Medicaid). I'm sorry if this sounds somewhat cruel and callous. But bottom line IMO is at some point in the perhaps not super distant future - you won't be able to take care of him - and he won't be able to take care of you (spouses without significant assets can often muddle through if only one is incapacitated - but not if both are - and you didn't mention kids or similar who might help you out). So you'll need other people to take care of both of you.

If a good place isn't available where you live - consider a move - seriously. Where I live - the best SNFs (all non-profit) require a minimum 5 year residence in our local area before you qualify for a Medicaid room.

FWIW - I've observed many Parkinson's patients in my late FIL's SNF. And many/most don't wind up with anything close to full scale dementia. But they do wind up with lots of physical needs. Which someone with things like MS and arthritis is not in a particularly good position to deal with. Heck - even a normal older/elderly woman without your problems - like me - couldn't deal with the physical needs of a very disabled man - even if he was relatively light weight. Or even a relatively young woman either. One of my friends had a husband with LBD who died in his 50's. She was in her 50's too - and strong as an ox. But - for the last 3-4 years or so of his life - she needed almost full time help with her husband. When people get really sick with stuff like this or similar - taking care of them is like handling a 150 pound sack of potatoes. Not something most of us can do on our own.

I would for sure not want to be in your shoes. But I hope that I and perhaps others can give you some ideas about how to make the best of a bad situation. Robyn
Thanks for the advice but we bought a cheap home in WV to retire to it is a 5 bedroom 3 bath home, I bought it so that my youngest son and his family could live with us if that became necessary. They have already committed to caring for us when the time comes. There is also help from out church that would be available if needed.
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:05 PM
 
Location: 112 Ocean Avenue
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcopolo View Post
Anyone who claims to be fearful of Alzheimers or dementia who is NOT exercising regularly is not thinking clearly.
Not sure if the person who wrote this is knitting with one or two needles. Genetics plays the largest role in determining who will and won't "lose their mind". Everything else is a very distant second.

I will say this, with a population that's living longer and longer the odds of getting dementia increase quite a bit. While most people want to live to a ripe old age, with that comes other health issues you'll probably have to deal with that had you kicked the bucket at a younger age, you might have escaped.
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:26 PM
 
Location: 3.5 sq mile island ant nest next to Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
Have you ever dealt with a person with Alzheimer's? Don't think so. Some of the first signs are being irrational and combative and paranoid. Very unpleasant to deal with. First time I ever dealt with it was when I was a kid - and my grandmother was living with us - and she was always fighting with my father all the time. To the extent that she moved out of the house (or maybe my father kicked her out - can't remember). And she wound up in an apartment where she'd call my mother 3 times a day and say that the landlord was sending poison gas in the radiator to kill her.

Then there's the whole "night walking" thing - which my late uncle (and others I've known with the disease) had. A totally big PITA.

Also the incontinence. Most families cross over "the line" in terms of at home/not at home care when the patient becomes incontinent (especially when it comes to fecal incontinence). People can deal with lots of stuff at home - but not fecal incontinence.

You're painting this whole thing in poetic terms. And I can assure you - Alzheimer's isn't poetic in any way shape or form. Robyn
I dealt with it with my mother 15 years or so ago and everything you say is true. She was always worried that someone was trying to steal her jewelry, money, or home. The night walking was the worst though. I was working 12 hour shifts with two nurses watching things during the day. I'd be sound asleep and as soon as her feet hit the floor I was up. No way to coax her back to bed without an argument so I'd just keep an eye on her for a while. I kept it up for about 6 months until my siblings (all out of state) pointed out that it was wearing me out and she needed to go into nursing care. I still regret not being able to do it.

One thing I will disagree on is due to the family history lessons (even about me) she gave me while she thought I was a stranger in her house. I learned a lot about her and my father and how they met up. I got lessons on her growing up and her parents, too. It was the only thing that was remotely pleasant about this God-awful disease. Then there is some of the funny (?) stuff. Like her thinking I was my father and she patted the coach with that look in her eye (yeah, you know the one) and told me to come sit by her.

I worry about my becoming that way by heredity. DW and I have had a few talks but not a pleasant subject to talk about. Is it? We do it in spurts but I feel we need to do it. I hate that disease with a passion.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:36 PM
 
Location: it depends
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedJacket View Post
Not sure if the person who wrote this is knitting with one or two needles. Genetics plays the largest role in determining who will and won't "lose their mind". Everything else is a very distant second.

I will say this, with a population that's living longer and longer the odds of getting dementia increase quite a bit. While most people want to live to a ripe old age, with that comes other health issues you'll probably have to deal with that had you kicked the bucket at a younger age, you might have escaped.
You go ahead and stay on the couch. It is a free country. But I think it is demented to ignore the indications linking exercise and brain health:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/0...eimers-at-bay/

Exercise Could Slow Memory Loss Among People At Risk For Alzheimer's

Impact of Daily Exercise on Development of Alzheimer

WELL - Exercise May Throw Up an Alzheimer's Roadblock - NYTimes.com
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:27 PM
 
13,124 posts, read 6,252,833 times
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Yes, I'm at the age where I do think about this topic.

My maternal grandmother developed dementia when she was in her late 70s. She progressively worsened but my mother, aunt and uncle were in denial. Both my grandmother and great-aunt (grandmother's older sister) lived in the same senior housing complex. My great-aunt, who was 5 years older than my grandmother, was sharp-minded but high strung. It got so that she took to sleeping on her couch because it was by her apartment door and that way she could hear if my grandmother got up (they lived 2 doors away from each other) and started to wander. It took the complex's social worker threatening my uncle with "If you don't start proceedings to get her into a nursing home, then I will" before my grandmother got moved. My grandmother was a reclusive person who had no interest in getting out and doing things unless someone took her. A long illness and hospitalization when she was in her late 20s left her with a poor short-term memory. I often wonder if this was the cause of her dementia.

My mother was in her mid-70s when she got diagnosed with Alzheimer's. In many ways, the diagnosis didn't surprise me due to my mother's lifestyle. She was a heavy smoker for almost 50 years, only quitting 10 years before she did. She was also an alcoholic. In the end, she also got lung, liver and bone cancer.

Yes, paranoia and combativeness are some of the first signs of Alzheimer's. However, my mother was naturally combative and paranoid. You could make a comment to her in all innocence and she would twist it into something awful. So, looking back, I suspect that she had Alzheimer's a while before anyone suspected. It was only when it progressed, that we all became aware. When she would call me to tell me that my father had moved out of the house and sent his friend to live there and pretend to be my father, it was clear that she wasn't right. Just like she was convinced that her father, who died 40 years prior, was there with her and talking to her.

Yet, her younger sister just turned 89 and is still going strong. She also lead a healthier life---she didn't smoke and only drank occasionally. Plus, she made an effort to eat properly. In addition, to this day, she attends activities that interest her and she interacts with her neighbors. The only problem I've noticed, besides her failing vision (which she is treating) is she is losing her hearing and is in denial about it.

My Dad is 89 and while he has slowed physically quite a bit, he is mentally alert. His hearing is bad and he wears 2 hearing aids. He can still take care of his own physical needs and lives with my brother and his family.

I often think of my family history and wonder how I will be as I continue to age. I make an effort to keep my mind active, get moderate exercise and eat properly. Still, when I have days when my memory seems to be not as sharp, it does concern me but I have noticed that these days happen when I didn't sleep well. Who knows how things will go? I keep positive and picture myself 20 years down the road still active and alert.

Fingers crossed...
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