After a certain age, many of us grey panthers have an occasional lapse. That’s normal. But with all the publicity about Alzheimer's, a person can’t help but be concerned. After all, every 67 seconds someone is stricken with Alzheimer's disease. That’s an accurate statistic, so please don’t stand by watching your stop watch.
Personally, I have had some annoying memory issues for years. I can see a movie, really enjoy it and within a few days, it has vanished completely from my mind. The same thing happens with most books I read. Here today - gone tomorrow. To be truthful, I’m not really that concerned, but I can’t help wondering about my memory.
I keep myself busy writing for a number of Internet clients. On occasion, when I write, a word I want to use just vanishes from my thought process. I must then run through the limited number of words I know to find an alternative. At other times while writing, I lose an entire sequence or the whole idea that I had cleverly thought up only a minute or two ago. It sometimes just vanishes into space as if I had never had the thought. I start to write but - poof, it’s gone.
My theory is that my brain has accumulated so much … let’s call it “stuff”, with a capital C, that I must occasionally clear all the excess “stuff” that has clogged my brain pipes. If I don’t, it will explode. I relate my overfilled brain to a completely topped off bladder after too many beers. So, the thoughts, names, movies, books and mostly non essential poobah that once served a purpose quietly escapes into the atmosphere, never again to be heard from.
On the serious side, I have had first hand experience with family members and friends who have been victimized by Alzheimer's or dementia. I continue to follow a couple of close friends who have not only noticed some warning signs, they have been proactive and have been seen by neurologists and other brain specialists. In two instances I am close to, the process began with a visit to their family doctor, who after some evaluation of his own arranged appointments with specialists for mor study.
In both cases, after testing, my two friends were found to be in the early stages of dementia, the cause of which can not usually be determined. Full blown dementia is the decline of a person’s mental ability serious enough to interfere with the tasks of day to day living.
Both were put on a regimen of drugs that have been very successful in slowing the advance of the dementia. Commonly, prescribed drugs: Aricept, Namenda and Razadyne are used to slow the advances, mask the symptoms and add much more to a person’s well being.
A very close older friend aged 98 began taking Aricept about ten years ago, soon after his wife had developed full blown dementia. He takes it “just in case” he might have a lapse. He drives, lives alone and finds time to stop over to see how I am doing. His mind is sharp. Don’t ever play bridge with him. He’s a shark .
Admitting that we have a problem is difficult for many of us older types. Usually, it’s our kids who first notice things about us. They are often the catalysts who force us to take some sort of action. That may seem like an intrusion into our lives, but once we accept what the future holds, a whole lot of planning should be done - much of which will involve our children.
Certainly we can’t live our lives in fear if we see the beginnings of a problem that could affect us or our spouse. Instead, we should anticipate the changes that will be required in our lifestyles to cope with the problem.
If you suspect you are having a problem, especially if your family’s history is any indication, have a conversation with your doctor here at North Valley. Don’t forget.
Until next time,
Ernie K from his corner.