Forgetting to remember-Alzheimer ‘s is Real

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowledge is power—sometimes.

Has someone ever shared information with you and now that you know, you wish you hadn’t known because perhaps you weren’t quite prepared?

And now with your new acquired knowledge, there are questions and decisions that must be made that falls into two categories:

Let the information marinate until I get more information.

Or should I act on the information I have– immediately?

It’s a quandary, I dealt with recently once I got the 411.

I can always count on my sister, Liv, to “keep me in the know” about family issues—both good and bad. In this case, she shared felt obligated to inform me about our family medical issues–for my health.

“When you go for your annual checkup, don’t forget to ask the doctors to check for Alzheimer’s disease,” she says straight, no chaser.

“Sure……what?” I’m totally flummoxed about this new information.

It just so happens that there’s a logical reason behind Liv’s state of emergency.

“The disease is prevalent  in our family. On Daddy’s side, we’ve had several aunts and uncles succumb to Alzheimer’s disease.”

She also enlightens me that the disease was more typically associated with in Seniors. Today, the disease is now showing up in people in their mid-40s.  That sobering information was stuck, but I remember feeling a range of emotions such as:

Uncertainty/off balance and unprepared

Denial/fear.

Just processing what I learned.

Once I’ve calmed down, I promise Liv and myself that now that I am aware of the disease, I would have to make some choices.

As months passed, I forgot about the conversation, the urgency and anything even remotely associated about the disease.

Enter the Reminder. The importance of this issue was brought to my attention—AGAIN—when I recently watched Insider Edition’s riveting interview with B. Smith, a former model, cookbook author and lifestyle maven who once hosted a syndicated show, very similar to Martha Stewarts. B. Smith is now dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.  She and her husband, Dan Gasby, co-authored a book called “Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help and Acceptance In Our Fight Against Alzheimer’s.

Imagine one day you simply forget how to get home. This is what B. Smith experienced the day she got off the bus at the wrong stop. According to the book, she spent 17 hours wandering around New York City—in heels. Her days of traveling alone were over.  And as one can imagine, their relationship of dealing with the disease (also referred to as dementia) has changed tremendously.

Alzheimer’s Association states these following facts about the disease:

  •     Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It affects memory, thinking and behavior and eventually leads to death. About 5.3 million Americans have it.
    •    It is not a normal part of aging, but about 95% of cases develop after age 65.
    •    People with Alzheimer’s live an average of 8 years after symptoms emerge.
    •    Current treatments can ease some symptoms but cannot cure or change the course of the disease
  • African Americans are about two times more likely and Latinos are about one and a half times more likely to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias than whites.
  • Although African Americans and Latinos are more likely than whites to have Alzheimer’s and dementia, they are less likely than whites to have a diagnosis of their condition, resulting in less treatment and planning.

As I was reading these facts, I was startled into action: gone were the excuses and the “choices.”  So, I wouldn’t forget, I’ve scheduled my appointment and started keeping a sticky note in my car to ask for the test. With this knowledge and a bit of trepidation, I already feel empowered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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