What are the initial signs of Alzheimer's Disease that you noticed in people close to you or in yourself?
Answered by: Joseph Fabian,My father, and aunt died from it
I am an only child, a son. Like others have said, you don't really understand until it happens to a loved one. My father started showing signs 6 years before he passed away. My mom took care of him as he started the downhill journey. My father always kept a daily journal, something he did starting as a teenager, little things like writing down getting gas, the cost, then calculating MPG and cost per mile after figuring it out in his head. Little things during the day. He always would go back and reread the journal each week.
About 4 years into the disease, my mother tripped in the house and broke her leg, and because of complications, she was hospitalized. It was February, I took over his care, and the bills for the house. He had a 1 year 24/7 home care plan, so since I lived 4 hours away, I had someone with him. My mother started having other complications, and was put in intensive care. She was in and out of the ICU for 5 weeks before her heart failed. I did what you do, had a funeral and took my dad who had a hard time walking, home. That day he wrote in his journal, Mom Died !!!! But that night the 3 of us, home care, my dad and I watched TV in silence.
The next morning he was having breakfast, and seemed OK. He went to the TV room and started watching the morning shows. All of a sudden we heard a scream, and sobbing. He opened his journal and read Mom Died !!!! He was inconsolable. But he started to change and stopped crying after about 20 minutes. He seemed OK. Later that day, the same thing happened. He had forgotten his journal, found it and read Mom Died !!!! again. This went on 2 more times that day. Obvious he had lost short term memory.
I tried taking the journal away, but then another emotion of anger and rage at me and the worker that we stole it. I did not know what was worse, the rage, or reliving mom's death. We ended up putting it where we could point it out across the room from him, but when he asked for it, we always had to leave the room with the promise we would give it to him when we got back. We didn't, he forgot most of the time. Yet there were times when we were out of the room where he got up found it, and read Mom Died !!!!. The stress on me was horrific, I hated that I could do nothing to console him, I hated the fact that he kept reliving her death, all this while I was still coping with her death, and now their house, finances, and I was still working.
After a year, the long term care policy ran out. He had forgotten that Mom died, always saying she was at the beauty parlor having her hair done, or at the grocery store. He forgot his journal, so he was not reliving her death every day. I had to find him an Alzheimer's residence. I couldn't afford the cost for home care plus all the expenses of 2 homes, his and mine. I found one where I turned over his Social Security and applied for state aid, which they received.
I took him there on my birthday that year, and showed him his room, and where he would live and he got mad accusing me of abandoning him. The scene was terrible, I ended up in the lobby sobbing uncontrollably. He had a difficult time adjusting, did not want to participate in their activities, reluctant to go to the meals. After almost 3 months things got better, but I was starting a new job on the other side of the country (he was in Florida, I was moving to Seattle). I remember taking him out to lunch, buying new clothes, electric shaver etc and when we got back to the place, I asked him to wait in the lobby. I went to the bathroom and when I got back 3 minutes later, he had no recollection I was there and greeted me like he hadn't seen me in a year. His short term memory was now down to minutes. The staff told me he was OK, he laughed and watched TV with the others. But now I am in Seattle, so it was still a stress.
11 months later he passed away. I buried him with mom.
One final note, the stress is never ending when taking care of an Alzheimer's patent. After my mom died I went through their finances, and realized that she was also starting to show signs of dementia, bills not paid, late fees etc.
My mother’s younger sister eventually ended up with it, and she had it 10 years before she passed.
Three years ago I went to a neurologist to baseline myself to see where I stood since it was on both sides of my family. When my parents came down with it, they were 20 years older than me, but I wanted to see where I stood.
I was OK, and I just had myself checked again. OK again. The neurologist was upbeat that several clinical trials are getting close to a medication(s) that can stop the progression, and appear to remove the plaques. He showed me brain scans of someone who was in the trial before then after and the scans were remarkable.
So we are close to turning the tide on this devastating disease.
My best to everyone reading this. I hope these medications are as successful as they seem, and that they are available soon.