A few words about Alzheimer's

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Recently, I've noticed more and more of my friends and acquaintances being forced to confront the age and even the mortality of their parents. Though my parents are on the young side, given my age, they, too, are getting older. And so, I worry. I worry obviously about all the big scaries--cancer, strokes, heart attacks--but there is one worry that crowds all others out in my mind:

Alzheimer's.

My great-grandmother had Alzheimer's. I was in high school and college at the time, and didn't see her all that often, but I remember the disease's progression very clearly. I remember how it killed her. And I remember how it stole her entire self first. It was one of the most brutal, horrifying things I can imagine.

All of this is why I decided to take part in a PSA campaign from the Alzheimer's Association, Generation Alzheimer's. Basically, the Alzheimer's Association is working to make my parents' generation, who are in their 50s and 60s now, aware of their increased risk for Alzheimer's as they get older. Since the disease cannot be cured, but can be managed (to some degree) in its early stages, early diagnosis and intervention is key. As horrible as it is to contemplate, Alzheimer's is also a disease that needs to be planned for if possible--people with it can live for years or even decades in need of full-time care.

The Alzheimer's Association has prepared a report, "Generation Alzheimer's: The Defining Disease of the Baby Boomers," to shed light on this subject. It can be downloaded for free here.

Another thing to do, if you are so moved, is put your money where your worry is. Go here to donate to the Alzheimer's Association. As per the organization's website, 70% of donation funds are used for research awareness, and advocacy. Charity Navigator gives them 3/4 stars.

3 Comments

I am in the odd position of still having three living grandparents, whose health dominates the discussion, and then being part of (though secretly) the younger generation with health issues that supersede our parents. I wonder how that is going to work, long term.

Thank you for your great post. Hopefully some people click through your link and make a donation.

"My great-grandmother had Alzheimer's. I was in high school and college at the time, and didn't see her all that often, but I remember the disease's progression very clearly. I remember how it killed her. And I remember how it stole her entire self first. It was one of the most brutal, horrifying things I can imagine."

I went through something similar. It was so hard to see the person who helped raise me through much of my childhood retreat into an empty shell and not recognize anyone she loved. My great-grandmother, Ida Mae (Mama Perk).

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