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Alzheimer's Steals More Than Memory
NY Times ^ | November 2, 2004 | DENISE GRADY

Posted on 11/02/2004 10:42:07 AM PST by neverdem

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The Long Goodbye, a series of articles dealing with issues related to Alzheimer's disease.
1 posted on 11/02/2004 10:42:08 AM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

My mother used to make a nice ginkgo tea for her patient. The family thought he was getting too well because he started asking questions about his money. Some folks benefit from parents being senile.


2 posted on 11/02/2004 10:44:33 AM PST by cyborg
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To: neverdem
Alzheimer's patients aren't violent. If they are may I suggest they are merely angry liberals who've forgotten why they are angry at EVERYONE?
3 posted on 11/02/2004 10:45:35 AM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: neverdem

My grandmother atacked my then 4 year old son twice. Once with a large book and then with a pair of scissors. She was not provoked either. That is when I knew I could no longer care for her in my home. Alzheimer's is one of the most evil and vilest diseases out there.


4 posted on 11/02/2004 10:47:17 AM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: PleaseNoMore

My mom has encountered problems with patients before. They revert back to their childhood. If their childhood was violent, then it's likely the patient will act out. It's take real skill and talent to deal with them.


5 posted on 11/02/2004 10:48:45 AM PST by cyborg
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To: PleaseNoMore; nmh; fourdeuce82d; El Gato; JudyB1938; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; ...

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.


6 posted on 11/02/2004 10:48:48 AM PST by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem

My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 4 years ago. Her's ended up being a very aggressive form. I went through hell for 2 years....Alzheimer's victims tend to take it all out on their closest and most loved ones. My mom is currently in a nursing home and the worst is over. By that I mean the violent, aggressive outbursts that break one's heart. She remembers basically nothing other than her childhood. She still thinks her parents are alive even though they died over 20 years ago. I, my cousin, her brother and a few close friends are the only people she remembers. She will, sometime in the near future, even forget us. This is the most excruciating, heart breaking thing I have ever gone through. My mother was a dynamic individual, a business leader who was elected business person of the year in our community 25 odd years ago. To see what this disease does is absolutely the saddest thing I've ever witnessed. My heart goes out to all Alzheimer's victims and expecially their families who must cope and love the victim in spite of the progression of the disease.


7 posted on 11/02/2004 10:48:58 AM PST by michaelbfree
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To: nmh

I hope that was sarcasm.


8 posted on 11/02/2004 10:49:51 AM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: nmh

That's not appropriate.


9 posted on 11/02/2004 10:54:51 AM PST by tiamat ("Just a Bronze-Age Gal, Trapped in a Techno-World!")
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To: michaelbfree

I am so sorry for what you and your family are going through with your mom.

My grandmother got like that, and it was very hard.



10 posted on 11/02/2004 10:56:15 AM PST by tiamat ("Just a Bronze-Age Gal, Trapped in a Techno-World!")
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To: PleaseNoMore; nmh

The last that I heard or read, a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer's can only be made by autopsy.


11 posted on 11/02/2004 10:56:19 AM PST by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: nmh

I dunno, my husband's grandmother (for whom our youngest is named for was the sweetest lady, but... she strangled nurse's aid with panty hose and almost killed them. At the time she was under the strong delusion that she was protecting her home and family.

My grandmother was always throwing tableware and fruit (especially apples) at my kids because she thought they were theiving grifters (her words). Most of the time she thought she was on a train going to meet up with her husband who had been a train conductor most of his life and they traveled a lot by train after the war.

I don't know that they were angry and aggressive, just that their reality and our reality crashed into each other a little hard every now and then.


12 posted on 11/02/2004 10:57:01 AM PST by Valpal1 (The constitution is going to be amended, the only question is by whom?)
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To: neverdem

Alzheimer's is not something I would wish on anyone....including John Kerry. It is the most cruel disease to both the victim and his/her family. My mother in law was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 7 years ago and is still the same, sweet person she always was, only she has NO short term memory. My husband and I call her Dory when we're alone because she is just like the blue fish Dory in Finding Nemo. That might sound cruel & mocking to some, but when a family watches a loved one slip away, sometimes the only thing left is to laugh. The best part of her condition is that she has no idea what is wrong with her as she has since forgotten her diagnosis. Prayers for anyone who is suffering.


13 posted on 11/02/2004 10:57:43 AM PST by PilloryHillary (John Kerry: Still a traitor after 33 years!)
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To: neverdem

My father in law died of Alzheimer's last year after he had reached the point where he forgot how to swallow and inspired food, leading to pneumonia. Over the previous four years, we had watched the progress of this disease until he no longer recognized any family members, knew who he was or what he was doing. This from a man who had been the auditor of a major corporation, who was well read, and who enjoyed life.

He was good natured to the end and never got violent or mean. This is a cruel disease.


14 posted on 11/02/2004 10:57:56 AM PST by mak5
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To: neverdem

Bump For Later


15 posted on 11/02/2004 10:58:29 AM PST by manic4organic (Kerry/Edwards - Both ends of the horse)
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To: tiamat

Thank you so much for your kind words of support. It is truly difficult as you know, very painful, very hurtful even though one understands the dynamics of the disease.
Thanks again....


16 posted on 11/02/2004 10:59:34 AM PST by michaelbfree
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To: nmh

You sir, are an idiot.
You know not of what you speak.
I'm going to take a shot here and guess that your comment is out of youthful ignorance.
For their sakes, I hope your parents will NEVER have to depend on YOU for care in their declining years.


17 posted on 11/02/2004 11:02:34 AM PST by Roccus
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To: michaelbfree

Not a problem.

I'll pray for you guys.

My MIL has it, too, and it is devestating that side of the family.


18 posted on 11/02/2004 11:04:48 AM PST by tiamat ("Just a Bronze-Age Gal, Trapped in a Techno-World!")
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To: Roccus
"You sir, are an idiot.
You know not of what you speak.
I'm going to take a shot here and guess that your comment is out of youthful ignorance.
For their sakes, I hope your parents will NEVER have to depend on YOU for care in their declining years."

Huh?

Many of my relatives had Alzheimer's and WE TOOK CARE OF THEM. We didn't farm them out to an old age WAREHOUSE to be neglected and die and NONE of them were violent.

How dare you point your finger at ME.
OTOH, you sound like the typical cantankerous hypocrite.
19 posted on 11/02/2004 11:10:29 AM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: neverdem
My sister and I cared for Mom till her passing. For 7 years that disease charged along on it's way to destroying a sweet, dear lady. Her violent outbreaks mainly resulted in self injury. My Dad passed about 3mos. before Mom and although she had recognized no one for several years, she would ask for him each day. When told he was gone, it was like she found out for the first time. Tore our hearts out.
Try to remember the fun things. With Mom it was tissues and mini Tootsie-Rolls. When I'd undress her for bed, it was like a pinata(sp?) tissues and Tootsie-rolls stuffed everywhere and falling to the floor. We buried her with both in her pockets.
I never thought that I'd be changing my Mom's diapers, but hey, she did it or me. You do what ya gotta do and every once in a while, a different light would come in her eye and I liked to believe that she understood.
Good luck.
20 posted on 11/02/2004 11:23:38 AM PST by Roccus
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To: neverdem
My prayers for anyone with a family member suffering Alzheimer's. Truly one of the cruelest of diseases. My grandmother and both of my wife's grandmothers died from it.

This thread caught my eye because I had just gotten off the phone with my wife. She hosts a Bible study in our home every Tuesday morning and this morning an elderly lady who's been visiting our congregation showed up. [I'd be interested to know what first brought her since our worship service is decidedly contemporary in style. She keeps coming because she said she could tell our congregation was genuine in our faith...] She told my wife she's been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and it saddens her because she's been forgetting things about her faith. Sorry, something in my eye...

My wife told her that even though she might forget, the Holy Spirit doesn't and he knows just how to pray for her even when she doesn't. She seemed to get a lot of comfort from that. I think I'll change from my usual seat this coming Sunday and try to get to know her a little better.

21 posted on 11/02/2004 11:25:39 AM PST by LTCJ (CBS, all your Boyd Cycles are belong to us.)
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To: nmh

Take another look a your post #3.
I feel my post was in good order.


22 posted on 11/02/2004 11:27:09 AM PST by Roccus
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To: SLB

FYI


23 posted on 11/02/2004 11:31:33 AM PST by Stonewall Jackson (Eagle Scout class of 1992.)
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To: neverdem

We're just about to complete a home addition to house my mother-in-law, who has alzheimers. We should have her with us by Thanksgiving. We'll keep her as long as we can. My wife's grandmother also had the disease..... so needless to say.... my wife is researching anything she can do to make it skip her.


24 posted on 11/02/2004 11:32:29 AM PST by kjam22 (What you win them by, is what you win them to)
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To: nmh

Commendations to you and your family for the care you gave your relatives. OTOH, there are people who, for health reasons, cannot care for an Alzheimer's patient in the home. Everyone that I know kept their family member at home as long as possible. I don't know anyone who "farmed" anyone out at a "warehouse."

I've cared for a number of Alzheimer's patients, and they are different at different stages. Some do become violent, and I wonder if sometimes that's because of minor strokes that go unnoticed...in any case, it's an organic disease, and can affect different areas of the brain in different people. When a small, frail wife has a large, aggressive husband with Alzheimer's, she can be harmed, particularly after he no longer recognizes her.


25 posted on 11/02/2004 11:34:49 AM PST by Judith Anne (The last time Kerry said "Reporting for duty!" he betrayed his comrades, his flag, and his country.)
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To: neverdem
My gradmother, and her father, both had Alz. It frightens me that it could be passed down to myself, or my children.

I've heard blueberries have shown promise in brain related health. Needless to say, I'm eating them daily. Just hope my skin doesn't turn blue ; )

26 posted on 11/02/2004 11:35:08 AM PST by softengine (Correlate everything. Practice critical thinking. Don't be a sheeple.)
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To: kjam22

I've heard that green tea twice daily is very helpful, although I haven't come across the research.


27 posted on 11/02/2004 11:35:56 AM PST by Judith Anne (The last time Kerry said "Reporting for duty!" he betrayed his comrades, his flag, and his country.)
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To: nmh; Roccus

Of all things to be nasty about - ALZHEIMERS is not it! Save the ugly for the enemy. We are not the enemy. And God bless and keep each of you who have cared for and loved a family member stricken with "A"


28 posted on 11/02/2004 11:36:47 AM PST by daybreakcoming ("The American press is all about lies! All they tell is lies, lies and more lies!",,,,,,Baghdad Bob)
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To: nmh
Alzheimer's patients aren't violent. If they are may I suggest they are merely angry liberals who've forgotten why they are angry at EVERYONE?

With an attitude like this, one hopes none of your relatives will have to suffer under care.

29 posted on 11/02/2004 11:37:43 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Judith Anne

Thanks... I'll pass that along to her.


30 posted on 11/02/2004 11:37:59 AM PST by kjam22 (What you win them by, is what you win them to)
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To: Doctor Stochastic

Sad thread ping.


31 posted on 11/02/2004 11:46:44 AM PST by RadioAstronomer
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To: neverdem

My boyfriend had atypical Parkinson's Disease. It started when he was in his forties and developed with a mixture of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's symptoms, also including paranoia and, at times, violent outbursts. He died after twelve years -- from a brain tumor that hadn't shown up on MRVs a year earlier. I empathize with all who have to care for these patients. And decisions about what to do become more complicated still when the individual is not married. Note that all these stories involve people who -- for all their suffering -- are lucky enough to have a devoted spouse who will devote himself totally to their welfare. When you are not married to the ill person and have to earn your own living, the choices become even more difficult.
I had my boyfriend committed once because he was threatening suicide -- and seemed to want me to take this action. After that, however, he became more secretive. Drug addicts preyed on him, pretending to be his friends and running up enormous credit card bills ($67,000)by taking out cash advances. At times he wanted to be rescued by me, at other times he insisted on seeing these people and there was nothing I could do. He punched a stranger on the street and knocked him down. When I let him stay at my apartment, he could not be left alone for an hour -- started fires,called our friends to complain that I was holding him prisoner, and so on. Unlike the patients in the article, he still youthful looking and powerfully built, so if his medication was working it wasn't always obvious how sick he was. I lived in terror that he would end up arrested.
Though it was clear to me that he was not competent, he managed to pull himself together during visits to his doctors and pass their tests, so he was not considered a candidate for residential care. He could turn on the charm and seem like the most reasonable person in the world. I was the villain for thinking it might be necessary to hospitalize him.
I'm sure this case isn't unique -- and in the future,with so many adults who are single, divorced or otherwise alone, the problem will become more acute.


32 posted on 11/02/2004 12:16:41 PM PST by joylyn
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To: michaelbfree

Sorry to hear about you mother. We went through a similiar experience with my grandmother a few years back.


33 posted on 11/02/2004 12:30:44 PM PST by proudpapa (of three.)
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To: joylyn

Your love and care were phenomenal, and God will surely bless you for it.


34 posted on 11/02/2004 12:35:38 PM PST by Judith Anne (The last time Kerry said "Reporting for duty!" he betrayed his comrades, his flag, and his country.)
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To: softengine; All

I happen to specialize in LTC insurance. If any freepers out there are looking for non-biased info on LTC insurance you can reply privately.


35 posted on 11/02/2004 1:43:44 PM PST by proudpapa (of three.)
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To: Judith Anne

That's nonsense.

It will all depend of their priorities.

When the age, they shouldn't be surprised when "family" doesn't have the time for them.

I hear "state homes" are horrendous. THAT is where they will wind up.


36 posted on 11/02/2004 1:54:25 PM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: Doctor Stochastic

Many of my relatives had Alzheimer's and WE TOOK CARE OF THEM. We didn't farm them out to an old age WAREHOUSE to be neglected and die and NONE of them were violent.

How dare you point your finger at ME.
OTOH, you sound like the typical cantankerous hypocrite.


37 posted on 11/02/2004 1:54:57 PM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: daybreakcoming

Many of my relatives had Alzheimer's and WE TOOK CARE OF THEM. We didn't farm them out to an old age WAREHOUSE to be neglected and die and NONE of them were violent.

How dare you point your finger at ME.
OTOH, you sound like the typical cantankerous hypocrite.

What is really in a persons heart comes out through this terrible disease.


38 posted on 11/02/2004 1:55:44 PM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: nmh
Many of my relatives had Alzheimer's and WE TOOK CARE OF THEM. We didn't farm them out to an old age WAREHOUSE to be neglected and die and NONE of them were violent.

I don't believe you.

39 posted on 11/02/2004 1:59:02 PM PST by Judith Anne (The last time Kerry said "Reporting for duty!" he betrayed his comrades, his flag, and his country.)
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To: neverdem

Tragic and sad but very real. My husband's grandfather, Granpa George, had Alzheimers. He had some occasions where he burst out at Grandma. Part of it was frustation and loss of memory. He was agitated for a time. One he progressed beyond that, the episodes stopped. It's hard as a family to see someone forget them. Grandma developed it later. They always cooked in aluminum cookware...don't know if that is a factor, but I threw away all my aluminum cookware.


40 posted on 11/02/2004 2:12:18 PM PST by jcmfreedom
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To: nmh

***What is really in a persons heart comes out through this terrible disease.***

I am having to doubt that you have ever been around Alzheimer's....much less did any one on one care for them. That's one of the most ignorant statements I've ever heard on this forum, bar none.


41 posted on 11/02/2004 2:22:23 PM PST by daybreakcoming ("The American press is all about lies! All they tell is lies, lies and more lies!",,,,,,Baghdad Bob)
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To: neverdem

There is a condition called NPH that mimics Alzheimer's. Can be found with an MRI. Worth checking our if you have a loved one with problems. NPH is fluid in the brain and there is successful treatment for it.


42 posted on 11/02/2004 2:29:50 PM PST by dalebert
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To: neverdem
The first three years, including the six months before the diagnosis was made on my Mama, she was unusually gullible to mailed scams. My sisters found out about it when she called my just younger sister's husband telling him to come get her because she had just won a truck. He and my sister went to her house, and through talking to her and surreptituously looking through her things, found out that she'd sent almost $2,000 (that she didn't have) to these scams. Once she returned the first one, she was on ALL their lists. After that, they took the checkbook away, and after almost killing herself and my older sister in the car, they took that away, too. She was very belligerent to them, but not to me, since I didn't live nearby. She was always a very gregarious person and talked a lot, but when she was diagnosed she just shut down. It was like she didn't want to speak because she was afraid that people would discover what was wrong with her.

We hired a woman who lived with Mama and took care of cooking, etc, because she was still ambulatory, but just needed supervision. While she was ugly to my sisters, she was NEVER mean to the caregiver, Mary. Once, when she yelled at Mary for some reason, Mary just told her that she must have mistaken her (Mary) for one of her (Mama's)children. Mama apologized!

When she no longer recognized her house as her own, and when she'd become more medically needy, we put her in a nursing home. She lived for a couple more years; she died this past summer. But she enjoyed the nursing home. She chatted with the nurses, but not so much with the other patients, and was more like her old self. She even still recognized her children and grandchildren, her siblings and some of her nieces and nephews; the great grandkids were too difficult to remember.

When she died this past July, peacefully in her sleep, all of us breathed a prayer of Thanks to God. She had never gotten to a bad stage where she didn't know anyone, so we were grateful for that.

43 posted on 11/02/2004 2:30:22 PM PST by SuziQ (Bush in 2004-Because we MUST!!!)
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To: neverdem
Wow. Very sobering article.

I don't know that there's anything people are doing that is particularly causing Alzheimers. I recall about 20-25 years ago that Alzheimer's was only diagnosed if you got it in your 50s or 60s *and* had a conclusive brain autopsy. Senility or dementia in older years (i.e. 80s) wasn't considered to be Alzheimer's.

Now the diagnostic criteria seem to be greatly widened, and so practically every loss of memory/personality in old people, even the very old, is considered to be Alzheimer's. Is it? I don't think (correct me if I'm wrong) that there's any conclusive diagnostic way to tell during life.

IMO, we're seeing far more senility of all kinds because people are simply living longer, unlike decades ago when people died more frequently, and more quickly, from strokes & heart attacks.

44 posted on 11/02/2004 2:31:35 PM PST by valkyrieanne (card-carrying South Park Republican)
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To: mak5; michaelbfree

Your personal accounts are so much like our family's - my father, age 69, died 11 years ago on Thanksgiving morning of Alzheimers-caused pneumonia, having lost the ability to swallow, speak, or just about anything else. It was really strange to hear that he had lost even his gag reflex. In his last few years, he was paranoid and delusional, and nothing like the gentle, dignified, successful, accomplished television executive he had been. It is a horrid disease.


45 posted on 11/02/2004 2:41:27 PM PST by mountaineer
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To: Roccus
We buried her with both in her pockets.

That is wonderful.

My brother-in-law has it and he goes around drinking everyone else's drink at family get-togethers, can't see the sugarbowl when it's staring right at him, and mistakes grown-ups for children and waves to them in restaurants. He once got lost on a cruise ship and ended up walking out on the runway during a fashion show.

46 posted on 11/02/2004 2:43:02 PM PST by firebrand
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To: firebrand

Hint for restaurants. Mom's hands had contracted to an almost claw-like state. She had a tough time with utensils. We started taking her to a local Chinese restaurant that had an all you can eat smorges-board. All finger foods were the order of the day. Tied a plastic apron around her neck and she would have a ball.


47 posted on 11/02/2004 3:01:28 PM PST by Roccus
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To: daybreakcoming
"I am having to doubt that you have ever been around Alzheimer's....much less did any one on one care for them. That's one of the most ignorant statements I've ever heard on this forum, bar none."

Wrong again!

My Grandmother passed away in Feb. of this year. Had she lived to June she would have been 101. She was docile but stubborn. It was a trait we didn't often see but we knew it was there.

She was to the point where even the earlier years weren't so clear any more.

All I can say is if a person is bitter in life they will be bitter in their old age. It's the truth and Alzheimer's will enhance that disposition. People don't want to hear that but it's true. I've seen this with MANY who have Alzheimer's.
48 posted on 11/02/2004 3:43:35 PM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: nmh

I don't believe you. Nothing you have posted on this thread leads me to believe you have any idea about Alzheimer's, whatsoever.


49 posted on 11/02/2004 5:46:14 PM PST by Judith Anne (The last time Kerry said "Reporting for duty!" he betrayed his comrades, his flag, and his country.)
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To: Judith Anne
Believe whatever you like.

People with Alzheimer's REGRESS mentally. They don't remember from one minute to the next. The neurons are not mapping anymore to form new memory.

Part of aging includes faculty decline. More often then not they have the skills of someone in pre school or kindergarten. It's simply the body breaking down.

It is also true that how a person lived their life when well will also be the way they die. What I mean by this is their disposition. If they are bitter, they will have a more bitter outlook at their life ends. If they were pleasant and content they will have this disposition when they fade away. This is rather obvious to ANYONE who has cared for a loved one they knew all their life.
Interestingly enough, hospice websites also state this FACT.
50 posted on 11/02/2004 6:38:13 PM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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