Tag: Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Living with Alzheimer’s: How to Maintain Relationships

My 78-year-old husband has been diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s since 3/3/16. It’s been a year since we saw the neurological psychiatrist, but our next appointment is in a week. That has brought a lot of his emotions about living with the disease to the surface, prompting a long and at least temporarily productive conversation. He was worrying about what I might say about his progress during the Dr. visit, but we were able to turn it around and talk about what he would say, because many of the things I had noticed, he had noticed, too, but had been hesitant to talk about. This change centered on him agreeing that it would be more helpful for him to be honest with himself and with the Doctor, rather than denying that anything has changed. One thing that helped me to steer this conversation in a positive direction was an article I’d read recently on the Alzheimer’s website titled “How Alzheimer’s affects relationships. You can find it here. It contains a little video made by a man who has the disease, and several quotes from others also from that perspective. It emphasizes that the person with Alzheimer’s has a choice as to how they react to and with the people around them, especially their spouse or “partner caregiver.” “Your ability to live well with Alzheimer’s depends on how you choose to continue to be a partner in your relationships.” In our relationship, I think both of us tend to swing back and forth when it comes to looking at living with the disease through our own eyes and experiences or through the eyes of our partner. I’m certain we will be having a similar conversation in the future, but at least we have cleared the air for the present, and hopefully long

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Alzheimer’s Progression: Is It Possible to Predict?

Experts estimate that specialized physicians now have the tools to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease with more than 90 percent accuracy. That fact sent me in search of data on symptoms, and when and in what order they are likely to occur after diagnosis. About 15 months ago, my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and I continue to struggle with 1) what about his behavior is symptomatic of the disease, 2) if what I observe will be consistent behavior (Can I count on what he can and cannot do all the time), and 3) what might be just normal aging behavior for someone his age (78). The short answer: Well….it appears that the short answer to all 3 of my dilemmas is “You can’t be sure.” Because Alzheimer’s affects people in different ways, each person will experience symptoms – or progress through Alzheimer’s stages – differently. Even the definition of “stages” seems a little vague. Some sources listed 3 stages of progression through the disease, while others came up with 7. And even then the reader is warned that symptoms might overlap or even not occur in that particular order. While designating Stages of Alzheimer’s can give a general forecast of what to expect, progression varies greatly from person to person and a division into Stages only provides a general guide. Another challenge: People with possible warning signs of Alzheimer’s may find it hard to recognize they have a problem and may resist following up on their symptoms. Signs of dementia may be more obvious to family members or friends. And memory loss might not be the first symptom that shows up. My husband’s earliest and most consistent symptoms involve what some experts call “executive function,” or the lack of ability to process a string of instructions or to initiate and plan

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