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Old 08-29-2012, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,497 posts, read 45,474,954 times
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Got news the other day that a dear friend had died at the age of 64 after suffering from Alzheimers for 14 years! I've always known about early-onset Alzheimer's Disease but this was my first personal experience with it.
I just finished reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova. She is a gifted PhD psychologist at Harvard as is the main character in this book. I recommend this book to anybody who is dealing with this disease or taking care of somebody with it. While the book deals with a 50 year old woman, I think it would be valuable for anybody interested in dementia.

Dementia runs deep in my family. Both grandmothers, my mother and all 3 of her siblings. I feel like the deck is stacked against me and I'm on alert every day for signs. I'm almost 66 and sometimes I do forget where my purse, keys, book, kindle are but so far nothing serious.
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Old 08-31-2012, 05:51 PM
Status: "Disoriented" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
60,995 posts, read 58,245,758 times
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I am sorry about your friend.

Around the time I was separating from my husband, I spoke with his sister who lives in another state. She mentioned that she was seeing a doctor because she was having some memory problems. She was 51 at the time. The next time I spoke with her I asked how she was and she said, "Well, I'm still working because everyone at my job is very kind and walks around pretending I'm normal." My ex and our daughter went to visit her a year or so later and she forgot they were coming. She is 64 now, too. She has not recognized her son or anyone else in her life for a number of years now. It is very sad for her siblings and for her son.

More recently, I learned that a coworker of mine (who works in a different department/location) is in a nursing home with what they are calling sudden-onset dementia. A friend of mine who is a closer friend of hers said that last year they were out together and the woman kept calling things by the wrong name--it was just seen as goofy and they were laughing about it. Then my friend, who is working overseas, started getting weird emails from the other woman about wanting a table back that she had lent her for a rental house and demanding she meet her after work one day to get the table back--and my friend wrote her back saying DID YOU FORGET THAT I'M IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND CAN'T POSSIBLY MEET YOU AFTER WORK??? After that she couldn't reach the woman at all and finally contacted a sister, who said that the police called her one night because her sister was knocking on neighbors' doors in the middle of the night saying things that didn't make any sense, and somebody called the cops. She's in a nursing home now. She is in her late fifties.

The possibilities are always there, I suppose, and it is a shadow that can hang over if you let it.

I do remember reading once that it's not forgetting your keys that you have to worry about. It's forgetting what keys do.

Thank you for the book recommendation. It sounds interesting.
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:09 PM
 
Location: southern born and southern bred
12,478 posts, read 15,437,009 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
Got news the other day that a dear friend had died at the age of 64 after suffering from Alzheimers for 14 years! I've always known about early-onset Alzheimer's Disease but this was my first personal experience with it.
I just finished reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova. She is a gifted PhD psychologist at Harvard as is the main character in this book. I recommend this book to anybody who is dealing with this disease or taking care of somebody with it. While the book deals with a 50 year old woman, I think it would be valuable for anybody interested in dementia.

Dementia runs deep in my family. Both grandmothers, my mother and all 3 of her siblings. I feel like the deck is stacked against me and I'm on alert every day for signs. I'm almost 66 and sometimes I do forget where my purse, keys, book, kindle are but so far nothing serious.

thanks for the recommendation.

Though the deck does seemed to be stacked against you--you could also beat the odds. You're almost 66 and you seem fine!!
14 years does seem a long time to live with any disease. I was talking to a friend today about this topic and she said if she had to choose between Alzheimers or cancer she would select Alz. because she feels those with the disease don't have the day to day concerns as others. Do you think that's true?
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Old 09-01-2012, 02:08 PM
 
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Maybe, but what a way to avoid day-to-day cares.
Early-onset dementia is, thankfully, rare. But if the previous poster's friend ever saw any end-stage dementia (aggressive, incontinent, frightened, zero life quality) I doubt she would feel comforted by the thought that she might not remember it.
Anyway, we don't seem to get a choice. Just have to deal with whatever diagnosis we get if and when we get it.
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:42 AM
 
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Louis Theroux recently did a documentary about dementia (Google & you can find links to watch it online). One of his subjects was a 49 year old mother of a young daughter, about 7 or 8. The doctor told her that within 2 years or so she would probably not remember her daughter's name. I would imagine that knowing your mind & quality of life are slipping away from you so rapidly, when you still have moments of lucidity, would be just as frightening as a cancer diagnosis.
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:44 AM
 
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More so, I think, at least it would be for me, and I have cancer all over my family.
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Marietta, GA
857 posts, read 4,548,013 times
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I am reading "Still Alice" right now. Thanks for the recomendation. Excellent book, but very scary! My husband has some dementia associated with Parkinson's Disease, but it isn't bad yet. I know it will get worse, but I hope that with Parkinsons it develops more slowly than with Alzheimers.
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Old 01-24-2015, 07:58 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,497 posts, read 45,474,954 times
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So now this book is winning awards as a popular movie. I can't wait to see it.
I found out about this series on Early Onset Alzheimers and I thought many people would want to know about it.

'How Do You Tell Your Kids That You Got Alzheimer's?' : Shots - Health News : NPR
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Old 01-25-2015, 07:58 AM
 
Location: St. Louis
9,951 posts, read 17,864,018 times
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I don't think you need to worry about telling your kids, if you have "oldtimer's"! They will have figured it out long before you do. At least that's been my experience and that of others I've known. I would much rather have cancer than dementia but in the case of my mother, who we thought had early alz, it turned out to be a brain tumor.
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Old 01-26-2015, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Columbus, OH
500 posts, read 1,003,540 times
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This terrifies me.

Alzheimer's runs in my maternal family as far as my great grandmother and her siblings. All 11 of them got it before they passed on. My great grandmother suffered terribly with it, becoming a vegetable for the last 5 years of her life. She curled up and stared into space, and was unable to speak or move on her own.

My grandmother and mother seem fine.

However, I have an alarming amount of brain fog for my age (37). Several times per week, I have a word on the tip of my tongue, and can even see a picture of the item in my mind, but it can sometimes take 7-10 seconds for the name of the item to come to me. I also have a very bad memory. You can ask me about a conversation I had a few days prior, and I only have a vague recollection of what was said. "I'm not sure, I don't remember," is a frequent part of my vocabulary.

It's not normal, and it frightens me.

I want to see this movie, but I also want to remain oblivious to the possibilities.
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