Mental Health

Both caregiver and Alzheimer’s patient can suffer from mental health issues. Here’s what you need to know to stay strong.

Concerned You May Be Developing Alzheimer’s?

Concerned You May Be Developing Alzheimer’s?

by MARIE MARLEY
Contributor

With all the public interest in Alzheimer’s disease these days it wouldn’t be unusual for you not to be concerned you are getting it.

When you have what we refer to as “a senior moment,” you may laugh about it with your friends, but you may also be among the numerous people who are secretly afraid it may be an early sign of dementia.

Ed, my Romanian soul mate, was very concerned he might have dementia. He, too, reacted by joking about it. He concluded every medical visit – regardless of what type of physician he was seeing that day – by loudly pronouncing, “At least it isn’t Alzheimer’s!” Then he laughed heartily.

At least it isn’t Alzheimer’s!

The unfortunate fact, however, was that he did indeed have Alzheimer’s.

Two groups of people are especially vulnerable to the fear they are getting dementia – those who have a loved one with dementia and those who work with dementia patients, say at a nursing home or assisted living memory care unit.

If you belong to one or both of these groups, you witness signs of dementia daily and as a result, become highly attuned to them. You may be so familiar with the symptoms that you begin to interpret some of your own behaviors and memory issues, no matter how minor or infrequent, as an early warning that you, too, are becoming a victim.

I currently have a friend who is worried about her mental state. She works in the field of Alzheimer’s and her spouse died from the disease. She’s experiencing some bothersome symptoms and has consulted four different health care professionals.

They all told her they don’t think anything serious is wrong. And they all said they think she’s overreacting because of her experience as an Alzheimer’s family caregiver and professional caregiver.

She tells me that some days she thinks the doctors are right, but on other days she’s convinced that she really is developing dementia.


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Come Back Early Today: A Memoir of Love, Alzheimer's and Joy

Marie's book tells the powerful 30-year love story of a young American woman and a delightfully eccentric Romanian gentleman and scholar, Edward Theodoru, PhD. A compelling love story, this award-winning book illustrates solutions to 14 specific problems that typically arise when caring for a person with dementia – from denial, diagnosis and difficult behaviors to nursing home and hospice care.


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Marie Marley

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