This is the first of what I hope will be an opportunity to share information regarding Alzheimer's and its ravages on families everywhere! I would like to hear your experiences and help if I can! Some times just sharing your thoughts can relieve some of the angst you are feeling!
My personal story begins with the loss of the grandparents of my children. I always looked forward(as I know they did) to them being active contributors, to my children's lives. As it happened, my kids lost them over a relatively short period of time, and well before they should have! I have had the misfortune of experiencing early onset, later onset and the demise of caretakers and loved ones, who in their valiant efforts to comfort and support spouses, disregarded their own health. A common plight with all caretakers, this selflessness and focus, takes a toll on their own well being.
My mom was diagnosed in her late fifties. It took a while to figure out, as they lived in Florida, and my Dad was cagey about sharing this reality, until it was brutally apparent to all of us. As a point of information, the earlier the symptoms appear, the sooner you die. Yes, Alzheimer's is a fatal disease which presently has no cure, as well as no proven means of arresting or delaying the effects.
I am consistently shocked at the number of folks I speak with, that are not aware that Alzheimer's is not just a loss of memory, but a cruel progression of the inability to speak, then eat, then breathe. So my mom passed at the age of 67, well below what we consider the "average" life span. Not two years later, my Dad, the penultimate caretaker(much to my surprise) passed on as a direct result of not caring for himself, as he cared for my mother. All of you caretakers out there, please, please...be sure to take good care of yourself as well, because there are many others who need you around after the worst!