I Forget, Should I Worry I Have Alzheimer’s?
Worry and Wonder
We worry. We take care of parents with memory loss and various forms of dementia. Some of us may have lost a parent or spouse due to dementia. We start to wonder, is it happening to me?
It’s frightening, watching our loved one’s mind lose touch with reality. They hallucinate, seeing what isn’t there, hearing sounds that haven’t been made, believing things that are impossible. Sometimes their personalities change and they become someone we don’t know.
My mom believes people come in her room at night. She hears a baby crying in her bathroom. Sometimes she sees a child that needs help. She thinks a shooting has occurred near her grandchildren’s house or that she heard us taking to them on the phone and won’t tell her what they said. Sometimes in the middle of the night when I’m sitting with her I worry, will I do the same thing? Is my mind already slipping?
If I forget an appointment time, lose my keys or can’t remember what I came in the kitchen for, is it an early sign of Alzheimer’s? Probably not, but I still wonder. If I do develop dementia, will I be irascible, passive or a mixture of both?
Obviously as we age, our brain ages too. Just as our reflexes slow down, so does our memory. How do we distinguish between normal memory loss and a form of dementia? You can read some detailed information here: https://nihseniorhealth.gov/alzheimersdisease/faq/faq10.html
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million people in the U.S. are living with it. One in three seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia.
That sounds scary, but to put it in perspective, it’s still the sixth leading cause of death, behind heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, accidents and strokes. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282929.php
If you are really worried there is a self-administered test you can take here, https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/brain-spine-neuro/memory-disorders/sage
You have to have your physician score the test, so you need to see your doctor, but that’s a good thing. You can discuss your concerns with him/her at the same time
Just like we know what we can do to mitigate our risk of heart disease, cancer and strokes, we can do what we can to decrease our risk of dementia. Stop smoking, exercise, control our weight, eat a healthy diet, limit alcohol intake, get rid of stress, and in the case of dementia, add keeping our minds active and engaged.
So my plan is to work on the things I can control. The things I can’t control I leave to God. Please excuse me now as I need to eat a healthy lunch, take a swim, and finish the book I’m reading.