Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of the progressive loss of intellectual abilities, know as dementia. It is a devastating and incurable disease that chiefly affects the elderly. It is already a major public health problem and it will become an even greater problem as the number and proportion of the elderly population increases.
You’re in your home of many years, walking down the hall to a bedroom, but before your reach your destination you realize that you don’t remember where you are or where you’re going. You suddenly lose your feelings of safety and security, and your life no longer feels like your own. You become a victim of an unknown force. What is it? It is the first terrifying sign of Alzheimer’s disease. This disease was a part of my grandmother’s life and coping through the different stages was devastating for her and our family.
Alois Alzheimer, a German neurologist, first described Alzheimer’s disease or A.D. in 1906. A.D. is the most common cause of the progressive loss of intellectual abilities, know as dementia. It is a devastating and incurable disease that chiefly affects the elderly. It is already a major public health problem and it will become an even greater problem as the number and proportion of the elderly population increases.
My grandmother was diagnosed with A.D. in 1993. Prior to her diagnosis, we noticed that her memory was deteriorating quite rapidly. She would forget names of family member, the proper names for things, such as the mail box, which she would call the post office, and she would forget her normal every day tasks.
“I wish someone would help me with my memory,” my grandmother said when she became frustrated one day. It was heart breaking because there was nothing we could do to help her. Finally when her memory became really bad and she started having terrible mood swings we decided to take her to the doctor. The diagnosis wasn’t a total shock because in the back of our minds we expected it, but it was still a pretty hard blow to all of us. Now it was time to prepare for a very long battle.
As my grandmother entered the moderate stage, the battle had truly begun. Her mental state worsened, and it was clear that A.D. was taking over her life. It was eerie how the disease progressed and how it changed this loveable and caring wife, mother, grandmother and friend into a confused, hateful and temperamental woman.
This brave woman became terrified of everything. Holiday socials with the family could no longer be held at her house because large numbers of people set her off into a frenzy. By this time she had forgotten who some of our family members were, such as the ones she only saw a couple times a month or less. It was a hard situation because we knew that someday she would forget us all.