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By EmpowHER February 9, 2008 - 7:48am
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Alzheimer's is a progressive brain disease that causes changes in memory and behavior. What are your stories in dealing with this condition?

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As the owner of a Senior Home Care Agency, I worked with many seniors who had Alzheimer's Disease. My own Grandfather also had memory loss which was never formerly diagnosed at the time but now we are sure it was AD.

I have learned that for some, proper medications, diet and a daily routine can make a positive difference and I did witness the improvement in many seniors once they were receiving good care. It seems, too, that the family can better weather this if they know what is coming and early diagnosis is a blessing.

There will be free memory screenings around the U.S.A., in convenient locations by the Alzheimer's Foundation on November 18th:


November 3, 2008 - 1:58pm

My sister's Neurologist stated, " she probably had symptons of the disease two to three years prior to coming here", the AD patient becomes quite skilled at hiding it as long as they can. There is great shame with this disease. It is very exhausting for the patients to do this. Downtown Phoenix (Banner) they are doing great studies/research and have great resources now for EOAD( Early) or LOAD (Late Onset). However, while she was more alert there were no studies in her age group (50's)for EOAD but there are now. However, she is not able to be in a study now with rapid declining health. She now is in Hospice transitioning toward the end of her life and disease. FYI we can't locate a first generation family member with AD. Perhaps a great, great, Aunt who they said, " died of old age." It is quite perplexing. Blessings, Sunny

August 18, 2008 - 7:22pm

There is an interesting article about Alzheimer's in the New York Times online (December 26, 2007).

Alzheimer's has such a high rate of dementia, disability and mortality because we are now just treating the symptoms of the disease once it has progressed, and are not able to find this disease in its earlier stages.

Researchers are studying the treatment, early detection and ultimate prevention of Alzheimer's, and are focusing on an abnormal protein called beta amyloid (A-beta) that is over-deposited, causing plaques, in the brain. If amyloid causes Alzheimers, it is possible that early detection of this protein (using brain scans), coupled with early treatment, can help prevent this disease. Several drugs and vaccines are being tested, in hopes that they rid the body of A-beta or block its production.

March 6, 2008 - 3:25pm

My darling groom often jokes that, with Alzheimer's, he comes home to a new woman every day. Truth is, he may be losing a bit of his mental capacity, I believe largely due to work-related stress and exhaustion, among other issues, but, fortunately, he does not have Alzheimer's. Unfortunately, it does run in his family and he has recently lost a favorite uncle to the disease.

Our daughter's godmother's mother died several years ago from complications of Alzheimer's. Because she lived in the neighborhood and we saw her often, it was distressing to see her deteriorate.

I've read that keeping one's mind and body as active as possible could delay the onset of Alzheimer's. I play little mind games with my mom to try to keep her little gray cells healthy. My grandfather believed this kept him going. Fortunately, neither suffered from the disease.

Here's another link that you may find helpful, to the Alzheimer's Research Foundation, where people can find information for patients, family members and caregivers:

February 25, 2008 - 5:40pm

Sometimes it's hard to believe people's strength in dealing with the changing behavior of a loved one who has Alzheimer's.

I was blown away after hearing about the concept of mistaken attachments -- where the Alzheimer's patient forgets about his or her spouse and falls in love with someone else.

That's exactly what happened to Sandra Day O'Connor, the retired Supreme Court Justice from Arizona who stepped down when her husband was in the early stages of Alzheimer's.

He fell in love with another woman -- much to the Justice's relief -- because his newfound love apparently helped him relax and he appeared happier. You can read more about their story here.


The mistaken attachment phenomenon is relatively common in Alzheimer's patients and about 5 million reportedly have the disease.

February 25, 2008 - 2:57pm
HERWriter Guide

This is the one disease that I don't know if I could live with because it affects one's dignity and humanity in so many more ways than, say, cancer or heart failure.

It is a terribly sad disease for both victim and family. It's awful to have to change your spouse's diapers, watch them smear feces and use terrible language that they never would have used in 'real' life. The role of partners-in-life suddenly changes to a parent-child relationship.

Having worked in nursing facilities and having used drama therapy with Alzheimer's patients, it was difficult to see results. They could read, yet had no idea what they were reading, and were often paranoid, combative and alternated between very happy and sad states. Sexual acting out is quite common too, which is sad to see, especially among a generation of women who valued modesty and chastity so dearly.

One thing I noticed that Alzheimer's patients always loved - without exception - was touch therapy. A hand massage with lotion could transform an otherwise combative patient within seconds. And I would talk to them about the old days, as I massaged the lotion in to their skin, and it was amazing how much some people could remember about the days gone by, even though the faces of their own children were hazy and only occasionally recognized.

They talked about the Depression when they were very small children, the great Wars, the 50s and the swinging 60s and then the 70s. They did not know what they had eaten for breakfast that day but they told me exactly what they were doing, where they were and even what they had eaten for lunch the day Kennedy was shot. They almost universally loved Reagan! I loved it, it was like being transported though a whirlwind of decades. A social-political history lesson seen through the eyes of someone who had lived through it all.

But most caregivers will tell you that this is a most difficult disease to live with and depression and despair is common in caregivers if they do not have a strong support network.

A lot of research has been done in the last 20 years. We know so much more now than we did even in the 1980s. Medicines are improving the patient's lives and support is improving the lives of the families who care so deeply for these sufferers. Alzheimer's is very much a family disease.

The Alzheimer's Association has a website that has great information www.alz.org

February 25, 2008 - 1:41pm
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