Just got back from Chicago, where my older brother is in a nursing home. He was diagnosed w/Alzheimer's over seven years ago. He still knows me, but is now losing weight fairly rapidly, and I'm afraid does not have too much longer. He was 71 last week.
My father also had Alzheimer's (confirmed after his death). He spent 3-4 years in a nursing home and was taken by pneumonia rather suddenly at age 87; otherwise he was in good health (but did not know me the last three years).
He had three sisters with Alzheimer's. One went through the entire disease beginning with forgetting where she was occasionally, progressing to more dementia, a fighting stage, a babbling stage, and finally a "nothing" stage. From the beginning until her death was less than 4 years. She lived to 75 or so. One of the other sisters was in a house fire at a fairly young age, and was demented from then on, may have had Alzheimer's along the way, but not sure. She stayed in a nursing home in Chicago and lived to 89, and finally the other sister lived to 94, and had the least symptoms of all of them.
I'm 68, and sincerely believe there was a genetic cause linking all of them and hopefully I don't have the gene. Short of being tested for it, I do my best to stay busy and involved, walk four miles each morning in one hour, and have worked all my life (also looking for another job now).
Thanks for listening. Does one good to share.
The following user gives a hug of support to all11: cotton1714 (04-06-2011)
Your brother has it and so did your father and some of his siblings. OK. You have some of the genes from your father, and some from your mother. Maybe your particular set of genes will make it impossible for you to get Alzheimers. If you did have a genetic disposition towards it, you could still prevent it by living a healthy life, as you already do, and not worrying about it too much.
Think of it this way - you are fine right now. It takes quite a while to develop; my Mom started showing symptoms quite a few years ago, as many as 8 to 10 years in my opinion. My Uncle got it late in life also, in his late eighties. At 67 I feel way too young to worry about it.
I feel if there is a gene that I have, it will still be a long time before it begins to show up .. AND ..this is the good news - so much research is being done that by the time it hits you or me, there will be a drug that keeps it from getting worse. I am firmly convinced of this, and live my life as if there were no such thing as AD.
I hope you too can just put it out of your mind and enjoy life. A positive attitude helps. Of course seeing my mother deteriorating the way she is makes it hard on me, but I do not identify with her or consider every little episode of forgetfuness to be immanent dementia.
It is good to get such fears off your chest, but please try to relax, and just assume that you will never get it.
I live very near Chicago and you might be surprised to know that I've been to your town many times! I have an aunt who lives in Chattanooga within walking distance of the riverfront. I used to visit her and my uncle often when I was younger. We used to go all over down there. Such beautiful country. Of course Lookout Mountain was my favorite place. But I was always scared of that swinging bridge.
I too have a strong family history of alzheimer's. My dad has it. His dad had it. Dad's brother has it. My mom's mother had it and my mom's sister (my aunt in Chattanooga) has it too. Dad is in the mid stages. His brother is in the early stages and I believe my aunt is near the end.
I believe that keeping active, both in mind and body, is very important in the fight to keep your mind healthy. So kudos to you for being proactive!
Welcome to the boards! You're right. I does do one good to share. It's certainly helped me!