For those of us watching a parent with dementia we battle our internal fears that we are fated to follow in their footsteps. The medical community doesn’t have all the answers, and from the research I’ve read as well as based on what Dr. Oz told me when I appeared on his show, I have more control over my senior years than heredity. For several years I’ve been making incremental changes in my life to guide my footsteps in a different direction than my parents — both medically and socially.
I was catching up with a girlfriend who mentioned she was worried because her husband seemed a lot more forgetful lately. I told her that forgetfulness doesn’t always equate to dementia or mild cognitive impairment. My kids forget and misplace things. My friend commented that the difference must be that the young don’t fear that forgetting something means they have an early sign of dementia. We laughed recognizing the truth in her comment.
I recently read two articles that were helpful. The first Forgetfulness Not Always What you Think by WebMD. We can expect that recalling information may take longer and forgetfulness alone doesn’t mean dementia. My Dad’s personality change was very noticeable and my Mom had more subtle personality changes. These symptoms appeared years before any diagnosis.
A recent article published by AARP entitled: 8 Treatable Conditions That Mimic Dementia. It’s worthwhile reading. If not for you, then for those other people in your life that may not realize the complications medications and other conditions can present.
I still hear from many people who believe getting forgetful and mean as you age is normal. We can all recall the one neighbor from our childhood who fits this stereotype. Dementia is complicated and the disease makes it hard for the person to recognize as well as human nature makes it difficult to accept the limitations it might bring to your life. I hope to educate as many as I can on how to recognize the symptoms and manage when you may be a witness to something you can’t control. Experienced.