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08 September 2009

Key Alzheimer's Genes Discovered This is very encouraging news. Of all the maladies of old age, Alzheimer's is the only one that actually scares me. I'm reasonably confident that I can maintain a good level of physical and emotional health until the very end -- but losing my reason?
That is good news.

I've always thought of Alzheimer's as being harder on the family than the person actually suffering from it. But I suppose that before it gets really bad and you know it's happening to you can't be any fun either.
posted by deborah 08 September | 18:04
My mom doesn't have Alzheimer's but has similar symptoms from vascular issues but I can say that memory loss is no fun for either the victim or her/his family. Especially if you are, as my mother is, very intelligent to begin with. You don't realize how impaired you are until you try to remember something, like your grandchild's name, and come up short when that fact is no longer there.
posted by octothorpe 08 September | 20:59
Alzheimer's scares the crap out of me. I had heard there was a link to diabetes once, and my dad has diabetes, so I fear for him. I don't know how I'd handle it if he had it.
posted by gc 08 September | 21:02
A neighbour of mind deteriorated quick quickly from dementia after her partner died. It was really sad. She's in a home now, and I hope she's being well taken care of.

I dread this happening to me.
posted by essexjan 09 September | 00:21
My mom's in a managed care home now and doing pretty well actually. One of the main issues with memory loss is the catch 22 of not being able to remember to take your meds to help with your memory issues. They have a very nice assistant who gives her her meds on schedule which has improved her a lot or at least stopped her decline. The home costs a fortune though, somewhere around $40K a year which she can swing between SS, her pension and a trust fund that her oldest and best friend set up for her but I'm sure lots of people are not so lucky.

I should call her more than I do but it's always a bit painful since it's basically the same conversation each time.
posted by octothorpe 09 September | 09:13
My husband's grandmother (his family lives forever) was recently diagnosed and is now living in an assisted living facility that allows her to have some independence, but there's still someone to make sure she remembers to eat and take her meds. Octothorpe is right though, those facilities are so very expensive. Hers costs about 5k a month...which...I don't know what I'm going to do if either of my parents get it because neither they, nor I, have the financial wherewithal to manage it. My husband's dad is spending his retirement funds for his mother's care. He thinks he'll never be able to retire now.

My greataunt had it, and it was a long, painful, terrible slide. Grandmother Margaret seems to be doing fairly well. I don't know if the meds have changed in the last decade or so...but she's doing much better than my greataunt did.

That said; Alzheimer's scares me to death. I think if I got the diagnosis, I would try to time a graceful exit. I never want to go through what I've seen happen with that disease, and I wouldn't want to subject my loved ones to it either. It's horrifying.
posted by Dejah 09 September | 14:54
Yeah, dealing with my dad's dementia has been the most difficult experience of my life. We're so glad he's in a care facility and safe now.

I have to face risk factors. If both my dad and uncle have similar dementias I might have the genetic predisposition as well. I also have diabetes "in midlife" (am I there already? hell) which is a significant risk factor, one reason I am biking like crazy to lose weight (the glucose crashes are another incentive). And to top it off I got a head injury last year when a thug cracked me over the head with a 2x4. (Weird, stressful year that was.)

I find Alzheimer's calming by contrast with my dad's condition. At least in the early stages Alzheimer's patients generally understand what's happening to them. The knowing can't be easy but you can deal with what you know. My dad doesn't have the ability of insight into his own condition, so there was great hostility to us and anybody else who didn't agree with his preconceived notions about stuff. We had 911 calls, paramedics, and arrests.

In the end, though, all dementias present the same way as patients lose activities of daily living and become apathetic.

No, I don't want to go that way either. I'm thinking a Steve Fossett is a better way to go. Transpacific ballooning, anyone?
posted by dhartung 09 September | 16:53
Very soon, if this kind of research keeps up, we'll be able to identify with certainty those who will come down with Alzheimer, and at about what age.

Won't that be lovely?
posted by ikkyu2 10 September | 01:08
In Honour of the Start of School. . . || OMG!!!!1!!!