by Sharron Warren

Posts tagged ‘dementia’

The Tip of the Iceberg

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In my last BLOG I wrote about symptoms people don’t usually see so therefore they find it hard to believe you have Alzheimer’s or any form of Dementia.  After my BLOG was published I found this.  Share please with friends and family – they rarely see under the iceberg.  Pretty amazing what we can hide.

 

 

VALENTINES DAY

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Another Holiday is on the way.  Valentine’s Day is one of the less stressful holidays so if you have traditions try to keep them.  If it’s not possible try something simple like watch a movie, cook something simple but delicious, go for a drive or a walk.  If you are a Care Partner these special days are going to be forgotten soon so grab what you can now.  I’m sure you can figure out what that special thing is.  Make it fun, sweet and simple.  MEMORIES.

 

The Brain and What it Controls

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Plaques and tangles form inside our Alzheimer’s/Dementia brain.  Once they find their way in – the downward slop begins.  I imagine that these invaders do not take over the brain all at once but that they start in certain areas of the brain then start spreading out.  This is why one day, month or year we can do something well and then it’s lost.

People just can not wrap their mind around how this picture, with all its beautiful colors is a brain.  While our brain is amazing it is not very pretty.  When I see pictures of plaque and tangles, which are also make look beautiful, it is hard to imagine that there is room where one can still talk and communicate so well.  While it’s a worn out topic for me I’m hoping this explains it better.

This is how Alzheimer’s progresses.  For some from diagnoses to death can happen in a few years but some manage to last 10-20 years.  It depends on how fast those plaques and tangle grow.  I feel so fortunate that while I am progressing I am doing so slowly and continue to have my social skills and speech.  If you look at the little part of the brain where the speech is – I seem to be free, for now.  Oh, I also have no problem with taste!!

One thing I am so glad about is that I still have MY opinion.  My opinion should not bother you as your opinion should not bother me.  I’ve always been very opinionated but more so now and I have been known to write or blurt things out.  Most of the time it is not what I would have done a few years ago but YOU forget who is writing or speaking.  While I want to be “normal” – I am not, so shame on you for not remembering that.  This pertains to all of us with Alzheimer’s.

 

PBS Specials

I hope you have been watching the wonderful PBS Specials on Alzheimer’s.  I know they will be repeated so check PBS to find the next showing.  A big eye opener was “Every Minute Counts”.

The increase of Alzheimer’s as Baby Boomers get older and the toll it take on Medicaid, Medicare and private insurances is unbelievable.  There is a wonderful graph of the government money that is given to several diseases and while those diseases are “under control” Alzheimer’s is not getting nearly as much money and this disease to growing at an unbelievable rate.

 

A repeat of Tom’s Words from Aug. 2015

I thought this was worth repeating

“The next few paragraphs are by Sharron’s husband, Tom. This is my observations on the changes.

Very often when Sharron tells someone of her problem they minimize it, saying things like, “I forget things all the time”. “Just the other day it took me 5 minutes to find my keys.” “You seem so normal.”

Cognitive impairment is not like that. My perception is there are basic mental processing issues. Not affected are things like motor skills; the ability to see and react; and the ability to talk. Thinking processes are affected. Things like logical problem solving, and dealing with the unexpected.

When you lose something, your keys, you think back such as what I was doing when I got out of the car, trace back your steps and find those keys. Now if you have no idea what you did over the past 5 minutes, where would you look?

On the subject of communication, I remember one day in 2011 when I told Sharron she is using too many pronouns. If you cannot think of someone’s name, you can just say “she”. If you cannot think of an item, you say “pass that to me”. In 2014 I heard “pass me the flipper over thingy” and “That temperature measuring device.” Now in 2015 the word challenge is progressing to sentences. Imaging getting half way through a sentence and forgetting how to end it. The loss of words is frustrating for both of us.

We need to separate conversation into 2 different types. There is what I call ‘shooting the breeze’ like friends just sitting around chatting; then there is ‘direct’ communication, where information is conveyed to someone. When Sharron is shooting the breeze everything seems normal. Words flow; there is a normal two-way interaction. Sharron can be telling a wonderful story of our last trip, but her color commentary will have fractured some facts. I like to say she can be talking about or trip to Florida when we actually went to Georgia.

Direct communication is much more challenging. Because recall of recent events has been confounded, passing information that you have had that pain for one week becomes twisted to something like ‘a couple of months’. To address this Sharron is writing many events in her journal or day planner.

Even with the challenges we still live our lives. We have overcome a serious leg fracture, and are back to living. Last week was at the beach.  We have plans for more travel in place. We are not letting Alzheimer’s control our lives.”

 

So Sharron, How are you doing?

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Me and a treat from Menchies

I am enjoying the monthly Memory Café.  It is always nice to see folks from our first support group.  Time is short so it’s hard to talk to everyone.

My knee is progressing and I’m able to get some walking exercise.  We go the Williamsburg Landing fitness center three times a week.  Riding the bike is great for my knee.  Pain??  Oh yes!!  I have pain most of the time, but I also have faith.

I’ve always talked to myself but it’s getting worse and now it’s really irritating me!  Yes, I do answer.  I’m coming to realize it may be a coping mechanism.  I know I am talking to myself at the time but I can not stop.  I believe we all talk to ourselves at times but all day long is a bit much.  When you start irritating yourself you’re in big trouble.

I am enjoying the sunshine days and counting the days until Spring.  I am not a winter person so anything below 50 is cold to me.

I am so happy that the election is over.  We need to put on our grown up pants and support our President.  With so much un-American spirit and hatred I’m still proud to live in America.  The rest are welcome to leave.  I know we all have our own opinions and that is what’s great about America.  The terrible words I heard and received have relieved me of a few friends.  No room in life for that.  Put on a smile and be happy you live in the land of the FREE.  GET OVER IT !!

 

 

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I put on my Happy Face as I wonder around the house

trying to remember what I need to do or where to go

I am still aware that my brain misfires but I pray for a better day

I find that I’m still able to hide my fears, mistakes and tears but when will that go away?

Hang on a little longer I tell myself

I fear the time will come when I can no longer remember loved ones names or faces

But for now I know the ones I love

I pray they will remember me – I know my loved ones will keep on loving me, no matter what happens

Taking care of me is my biggest fear

This is all so scary

 

 

As always thank you for taking the time to read and PLEASE share.

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The Wheels Keep on Turning

 

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Executive function is a set of mental skills that help you get things done. These skills are controlled by an area of the brain called the frontal lobe.  There are days when I believe my frontal lobe has left for the beach.

Executive function helps you:

  • Manage time
  • Pay attention
  • Switch focus
  • Plan and organize
  • Remember details
  • Avoid saying or doing the wrong thing
  • Do things based on your experience

When executive function isn’t working as it should, your behavior is less controlled. This can affect your ability to:

  • Work
  • Do things independently
  • Maintain relationships

 

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Types of Executive Function

Executive function can be divided into two groups:

  • Organization: Gathering information and structuring it for evaluation.
  • Regulation: Taking stock of your surroundings and changing behavior in response to it.

More Problems with Executive Function

Some people are just born with weak executive function.  People with depression, or dementia have weaknesses in it.

An injury to the front of the brain, where the frontal lobe is, can harm your ability to stay on task. Damage from Alzheimer’s disease or strokes may also cause problems.

To improve time management:

  • Create checklists and estimate how long each task will take.
  • Break long assignments into chunks, and assign time frames for completing each one.
  • Use calendars to keep track of appointments, vacations, chores, and activities.  OH MY – this is ME.

To better manage space and keep things from getting lost:

  • Have separate work area- not the kitchen or dining table or the bed.
  • Organize the work space.
  • Minimize clutter.
  • Schedule a weekly time to clean and organize the work space.

This works for me as clutter means disorganization and that rattles my brain causing an unpleasant experience.  Just ask Tom.

 

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Fatigue

 When you care for someone with mild Dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, you can often see us change from one day to the next.  It’s common to feel overwhelmed!  But if you plan day to day, you can try different ways to help us cope.

For me having Alzheimer’s is like studying for a final examination every minute of every day. Just listening to conversation or doing the laundry can be exhausting for me. Even TV can be overwhelming at times, particularly shows with a lot of noise and motion or intense emotional situations.  I suffer from afternoon fatigue so much that we are learning not to do much in the afternoons except have quiet time.  This time is for my writing, watching TV, knitting or pool time.

 

Fatigue is the leading cause of behavioral issues in dementing illness.  Having an illness like Alzheimer’s disease is stressful and exhausting.  I need to work hard to follow conversations, perform tasks, and simply try to remember what I should be doing.  I think this is why I talk so much in social situations.  I feel if I keep talking and appear social that no one will notice my disease.  I experience significant fatigue even when I appear to be doing little.  One of the most important habits people with dementia need is to develop the ability to take regular breaks.  In this early stage I try to sit and read my magazines or put my feet up and relax in the afternoon. This helps me to have a stable mood and avoid “sundown syndrome” (a.k.a. late day confusion).  My sweet Tom may disagree with this!

Most important to me:

 Developing a Routine. Change creates stress for people with Alzheimer’s, since we have trouble understanding new situations.  I do my best to stick to a daily routine, which is so difficult when you want to travel and be active.  I try to choose activities carefully and to include rest periods – for my brain and my leg.

 

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Functional Loss, Avoiding Change

Functional loss is the inability to accomplish tasks.  It is the result of deceased “executive function” in the brain.  What this means is that when trying to reach a goal, such as laundering clothes, a normal brain automatically breaks the task into steps that must be done in order to accomplish the task.  In a healthy individual the more we do those tasks, the less thought it takes to do them.  For people with dementia the ability to determine the order of steps needed to be done is lost – especially when the person has to think about the activity.  The more the person has to think about how to do the activity, the more anxious and confused they become.  If you try to coach the person through the activity, the confusion about steps will become worse and people with dementia become frustrated and frightened.  They know they should be able to accomplish the activity.

Planning Activities

People with mild Alzheimer’s still want and need to be social to keep up their stamina, self-esteem and mood.  A local senior center can help with activities like exercise, games, and arts and crafts.  Also consider outings with friends and family, though be sure to plan around the thought that you may need to rest or to leave early.

Controlling Environmental Stimuli.

Some dementias affect the parts of the brain that interpret what our senses learn from the environment.  This means that vision, hearing, taste, touch, and smell are affected. The person still sees, hears, etc. but is progressively unable to interpret the sensory input.  It is somewhat easier to understand if you imagine your eyes as a camera.  They still take the picture but the brain doesn’t necessarily develop the film correctly. This results in decreased depth perception, ability to see moving objects, or not identifying common things.  This is especially true of what is seen on television.

Too much demand

All too often well-meaning family and friends try to “exercise the person’s brain,” asking repeated questions about the date, names of people, and current events.  This can be very upsetting as the person with early dementia is usually aware of their deficits.  Continuously testing a person does not help their memory and can produce anxiety and depression.  Thank goodness – no one does this to me.

 

Organizing the day

Remember to make time for yourself, or include the person with dementia in activities that you enjoy – for example, taking a daily walk.

A person with Alzheimer’s or other progressive dementia will eventually need a caregiver’s assistance to organize the day. Tom is already doing this.  Structured and pleasant activities can often reduce agitation and improve mood.  Planning activities for a person with dementia works best when you continually explore, experiment and adjust.

Before making a plan, consider:

  • The person’s likes, dislikes, strengths, abilities and interests
  • How the person used to structure his or her day
  • What times of day the person functions best
  • Ample time for meals, bathing and dressing
  • Regular times for waking up and going to bed (especially helpful if the person with dementia experiences sleep issues or sundowning)

Make sure to allow for flexibility within your daily routine for spontaneous activities.

As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, the abilities of a person with dementia will change. With creativity, flexibility and problem solving, you’ll be able to adapt your daily routine to support these changes.

To sum it up, the best way to plan for care for someone with early Alzheimer’s is to organize a consistent routine, with generous activities in an environment with moderate noise and people and at least two rest periods per day.  As your person’s dementia advances the above recommendations can be tweaked or intensified to continue providing care in the moderate stages.

So Sharron, how are you doing?

 TV does not hold my interest – too loud or too much action.

My mood swings faster than you can snap your fingers.

Things I have difficulty with now has a name – executive function but some days I feel like I have ADHD.

I function better in the morning than afternoon – I just wish I could nap.

I am handing off more of my day-to-day functions to Tom.

I love the new monthly Memory Café for Dementia/Alzheimer’s folks in Williamsburg and their care partners.  It is very casual and gives me time to catch up, gossip, laugh and cry – thank you Ladies for doing this.

May has been a sad month as a dear friend of mine lost her Mother to dementia and a few weeks later her brother died unexpectedly.  Tom’s Aunt Anne passed away in the middle of May.  I’ve been doing a lot more praying.

On a good note our Granddaughter, Lexi, graduated from ODU – what a proud day.

Our house is for sale and while I try not to get stressed out it just happens.  We want to move to an area that is more transportation friendly for Tom.  His independence is very important to me.

I lost my love for peanut butter and all foods taste salty.  I used to LOVE both.

 

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The 2016 Williamsburg Walk to End Alzheimer’s®  is on Oct 22 at Matthew Whaley Elementary School. This will be my 3rd walk.

In 2015 our chapter (Southeastern Virginia) raised over $735,000 through 6 chapter-hosted Walk events.  My wonderful team – The Villas of Five Forks – raised over $4500 and we placed 5th in Williamsburg – right below all the LARGE corporate teams.  WE ROCK!!  My aim is HIGH for 2016.  I’m sure it will involve a new car!!  Get those $20’s out and ready!

I am looking for new items to auction at several events.  We need store gift cards (grocery stores would be nice) or any new store items.  Gift baskets are always a hit.  If you’re in the know that would be great for Team Villa. 

If you own a business and are willing to help sponsor Team Villa please let me hear from you.

 

If you see something you like click on the picture to see if it’s SOLD or to get the price.  Everything is reduced and 100% of all sales will go to my Villas team for this years walk.

https://www.facebook.com/Beach-Babes-Jewelry-117414971651930/photos

If you do not have Facebook I still have my old Beach Babes Jewelry Blog and you might see something special there.

http://beachbabesjewelry.blogspot.com

Just email if you see something you like and I’ll let you know if it’s available.

slbeach703@hotmail.com

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Your love and support mean so much to me – Thank You!

 

 

O HAPPY DAY

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“I see the ocean while crossing the bridge, my heart skips a beat. When was I here last to smell the clean air and amaze at the ocean?  It doesn’t matter as it still mesmerizes my mind….close my eyes and the sound is still there, I take a deep breath and breathe in the calm knowing that this is where I belong”. SW

 

My man Joe Friday – “Just the facts, ma’am.”

The popular social understanding is that Alzheimer’s is a disease that causes a loss of memory, but that turns out to be a cruel misrepresentation. The devastation is much more pervasive. As brain systems are progressively destroyed, behavioral and physical functioning become more and more impaired. Systems for memory, decision-making, judgement, sense of direction/location, speech, continence, walking and eating are all methodically destroyed until the disease progression ends in death.

The losses keep multiplying. Loss of partner, loss of shared decision-maker, loss of roles/functions in the household, loss of shared memories and humorous stories, loss of identity as the person no longer remembers themselves, his or her children or their spouse.

Sad but this could be your family. The average total cost per person with dementia five years before death was more than $287,000. That number compared to costs ranging from $173,000 to $197,000 among groups without any form of dementia. But, the average out-of-pocket spending for dementia patients was 81 percent higher than it was for those without dementia.

The “This can not happen to me” people had better start preparing. Think about helping with Alzheimer’s research by getting into a clinical trial or making a donation.

 

The Underused Specialist

A geriatrician is a physician already certified in internal or family medicine who has completed additional training in the care of older adults. In addition to providing clinical care, geriatricians are skilled in navigating the labyrinth of psychological and social problems that often arise in the aging population.

Geriatrics is one of the few medical specialties in the United States that the supply of Geriatricians contracting while demand increases, ranking at the bottom of the list of specialties that internal medicine residents choose to pursue.

Since the health care of older patients is covered mostly by Medicare low reimbursement rates make sustaining a geriatric practice difficult.

“Medicare disadvantages geriatricians at every turn, paying whatever is asked for medications and procedures, but a pittance for tough care-planning.

There is something wrong about our health care system – we all know it. I worked and lived that life for years with many physicians. Because of Medicare Geriatric Physicians are not practicing. Shafted by the Government, once again.

My Primary Care Physician is an internist and to me she is as knowledgeable as any Gerontologist. She treats me well, knows how to care and treat seniors (after all this IS Williamsburg!) has my medications all straightened out and the best part is that she is loving and compassionate.

 

So, Sharron……How are you doing?

  • My “bad leg” is not bouncing back as well as I thought it might. Being in pain is a lot to bear most of the time – then you add Alzheimer’s. Not a good combination.
  • I am looking for a way to increase my pleasure in living – I’m sure many are in my shoes. There are those who are happy and content no matter what life throws at them. Some of us have to dig and plan for things to make us content. I’m a digger!
  • Increase of this terrible slow mind robbing disease is just grating on my last nerve. I see myself stumbling and tumbling………..Some of you reading this will know what I mean. Either this is happening to you or you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Yes, I still hide it well.
  • A few more vacations are planned for this year – yeah!! I have many hours of driving and/or flying coming up. I’m hoping for days filled with sunshine and relaxation along with new adventures.
  • Life is good.

 

But…………………when things are bad….

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Monthly humor!

A RETIREE’S LAST TRIP TO COSTCO

Yesterday I was at Costco buying a large bag of Purina dog chow for my loyal pet, Bodie, the Wonder Dog, which weighs 191 lbs. I was in the check-out line when a woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

What did she think I had an elephant?

So because I’m retired and have little to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn’t have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again. I added that I probably  shouldn’t, because I ended up in the hospital last time, but  that I’d lost 50 pounds  before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in  both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a Perfect Diet and that the way that it works is, to load your jacket pockets with Purina Nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.)

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care, because the dog food poisoned me. I told her no, I stopped to Pee on a Fire Hydrant and a car hit me.

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.

Costco won’t let me shop there anymore.

Better watch what you ask retired people. They have all the time in the World to think of crazy things to say.

 

 

 

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Oh YES, here it comes again!!!

The 2016 Williamsburg Walk to End Alzheimer’s® on Oct 22 at Matthew Whaley Elementary School. This will be my 3rd walk and I am so pleased with our Villa team.

In 2015 our chapter (Southeastern Virginia) raised over $735,000 through 6 chapter-hosted Walk events. My wonderful team – The Villas of Five Forks – raised over $4500 and we placed 5th in Williamsburg – right below all the LARGE corporate teams. WE ROCK!! My aim is HIGH for 2016. I’m sure it will involve a new car!!

I have a few suggestions for Villa fundraisers. Let me hear from you if you’re willing to help, most fun and wine of course!!  I’m ahead of myself as this will not be until September but I am excited.  I am also looking for new items to auction at several events at Brookneal (previously know as Chambrel).  I believe they were number one and were so awesome to let us participate at their fundraisers. We need store gift card (grocery stores are nice about that) or any store items.  If you’re in the know that would be great for Team Villa. If you own a business and can help us shout out to me.

I hope all of you will join me again.

 

 

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”Spring, spring is in the air.

I can feel it everywhere.”

March 20th – Halleluiah

Caregiver in the know

While I do not like repeating information this needs to be memorized. It is so important to anyone with memory issues.

  • Love me as you always did
  • Speak directly to me
  • BE with me
  • Let me be independent. Let me do as much as possible
  • Do not treat me like a burden
  • Keep me engage with family and
  • Make me feel safe – where I live now, equipment I need, falling
  • Celebrate the small things I can do.
  • Take care of YOURSELF – see friends, go out to lunch or dinner
  • Have someone you can talk to
  • Dignity is so important

 

 

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Thank you for your love and support

 

EASE class and my new buddy “Bob”

I do hope that we have a Spring and not just hop into Summer, though Summer is my favorite month I’m finding that as I get older the heat can be harsh but I’ll take that over snow anytime. What I love is weather where I can open the windows (I love the Spring yellow dust!!) and not have to run the AC or heat – saving money is a good thing…………….especially when you don’t know where life is going to take you.

My sweet Tom and I went to our first EASE class last night – “Early Alzheimer Support and Education. We’ve been waiting over a year for the wonderful Alzheimer’s team to get trained. For their first class they were so together, organized, caring and had cookies!!! My favorite type of class. For those with a few extra bucks or with an Alzheimer’s family member this is a great organization to contribute to. Most of their “worker bees” are caring, compassionate volunteers. God Bless them all.

We went around the room and introduced ourselves with mostly where we were raised, education, work, who we live with and what we expect to gain from this program. Not only was I excited to be there but there were also 2 other women!! The class we used to go to once a month, as I said before, were all men and ME.

Life is rough with dementia of any sort and very frustrating. I’ve not told many people but when I do they give ME praise for being so brave or either say, “Oh, I’ve misplaced my keys, etc.” They don’t get it or they may think that this is an old persons disease. All I say is that it’s not like that…………….there is no one who can feel what I feel – the confusion and the lost days. I have not only bad days but bad weeks and I feel so lucky to have Tom. I can think of a lot of husbands who would have given up and left. Thank you my Sweetest Baboo.

Now on to “Bob”……….I am very organized and my house is always clean and the laundry is done but I so hate to dust and clean the floors – in comes “Bob” as we’ve named him – my early birthday present – a Roomba!! What a joy to see him wiz around cleaning – I’m not sure who spends more time watching him, me or Tom. Thank you Tom for my birthday present. My birthday next Tuesday will be spent picking up our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and going to our next EASE meeting. For today – life is good!!

Speaking of a good life not only do we get to take mini vacations and long ones but we are able to watch our Grandson, Riley (9 yrs.) in Karate class & school plays and watch Emma (6 yrs.) in her school play, T-ball and field hockey. My goodness they are a joy to me.

Until next time remember to love the one you’re with as life changes in a flash.

Just Another Day

I’m finding that genes are not so fun to inherit. I was hoping to write weekly of my journey but the end of January my Father (you hear me up there!) decided to pass along his kidney stones to me…..I’d love to have his beautiful curly hair and his wonderful sense of humor but I get the STONE. I had surgery then developed a kidney infection but with another round of antibiotics I hope to get back to normal. Through all of this I lost track of dates and days and medicine times and became very frustrated. This part of the disease is especially hard as you know that you have it and that things aren’t right and you can’t make them right. My head is in a spin as I try to act normal and not rely on Tom to much so what I’m doing is isolating my self from him. I will need him for the harder days that will come and I already feel his stress.

When I started this BLOG I had hopes of sending it to my maternal cousins and close friends and from there with a little feedback I would post it online in hopes that someone like me would find it and I’d have a friend to share with. So far I’ve only sent it to about 10 people and have yet to publish it. A friend suggested that I start a Facebook page to publish my BLOG and hit a greater audience but I’m not ready for that.

The Dementia patient is not giving you a hard time
The Dementia patient is having a hard time.

Was this my Mother’s Journey?

With this journey I have a beginning, I know what the “body” will be and I know better than most how it will end.

The facts – I have mild cognitive impairment (MCI), the precursor to Alzheimer’s, (AD) but I want this blog to help others with this disease and to help everyone understand what is going on in MY head – a person in the early stages – for as long as possible.

There are many articles, blogs and websites for caregivers or as I like to say, “those putting up with us” but I’ve not found one I like that is written by a person going through this stage of the disease. For those who know me you will probably not notice any difference as when I’m out and about or in a social situation I will appear “normal.” I’ve always had the gift to gab and so far that hasn’t changed but when in doubt I shut up. The most frustrating part of this disease is not remembering names but Tom (my husband) has been a lifesaver as he will whisper a person’s name (whom I’ve met many times) so I’m not left there looking strange.…….Live with me a week and you will understand. Walk a week in Tom’s shoes and you may want to leave.

I’ve decided to start with a little family history. My beautiful intelligent Mother was diagnosed in her 60’s after I began to notice that something was a little “off.” She passed away from this cruel disease 10 years later. Some of her siblings also had AD. The end of this story is that I have a strong family history of Alzheimer’s along with many of my cousins.

Being diagnosed last year at age 65 years really puts me in the “normal onset” but the symptoms started a year or two before I reached 65 so I call it early onset – early can be an age or a stage. I chose to ignore these symptoms and tried to carry on. Then I hit a roadblock: my husband Tom. He sat me down and told me that something was wrong and we both had seen the same things with my Mother. This I already knew. Immediately Tom took over with the research finding a facility near our house that works with aging, dementia and Alzheimer’s. The appointment was made, I went and failed the test. Off to the Neuropsychologist for a more thorough and expensive test – diagnoses was Mild Cognitive Impairment with secondary depression – ya think??? With that comes dementia and with my family history – Alzheimer’s. There is no cure and progression varies. Some people are able to function, cook and drive for many years. I pray that I am one of them. For now I “appear” normal and am able to cover my deficits. I try to hold my meltdowns for home. That doesn’t always work.

With Tom being legally blind we decided to see sites and vacation in places we’ve always wanted to go. For now nothing is going to stop us. I do all the driving and Tom is my navigator – in the car and in my life.

If you or if you know of someone with early onset Alzheimer’s please pass this blog along. Someone may be interested in my journey and I’d love to hear about theirs.

Below are the first three stages of Alzheimer’s that would pertain to me. I am closing in on Stage 3. Hopefully the next four will stay away for many years. If you have a friend or a family member with any of these signs please encourage them to get help now. As I said, there are no cures but there are ways to make life a little easier.

There are 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s. Below are the 1st three:

Stage 1: No impairment (normal function)
The person does not experience any memory problems. An interview with a medical professional does not show any evidence of symptoms of dementia.

Stage 2: Very mild cognitive decline (may be normal age-related changes or earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease)
The person may feel as if he or she is having memory lapses — forgetting familiar words or the location of everyday objects. But no symptoms of dementia can be detected during a medical examination or by friends, family or co-workers.

Stage 3: Mild cognitive decline (early-stage Alzheimer’s can be diagnosed in some, but not all, individuals with these symptoms)

Friends, family or co-workers begin to notice difficulties. During a detailed medical interview, doctors may be able to detect problems in memory or concentration.