It starts small. Misplaced keys that turn up in odd places, making you wonder if there are gremlins living in your house. Forgotten appointments you’re sure no one mentioned, until someone points to where you’d written it on your calendar. Other odd happenings disregarded, yet still niggling in the back of your mind.
More time passes, and you begin to think someone has rewritten your familiar cookie recipe in an alien language, because as far as you’re concerned, the words have begun to lose their meaning. They have become a jumble of disconnected letters. You walk into the laundry room to wash a load or two, but have no idea how to operate your washing machine; you then ask yourself, what are all those buttons for, anyway? You get lost walking your dog around the neighborhood you’ve lived in for over 40 years and spend hours finding your way home. A truly terrifying state! Would this be the day your anxiety turned to panic?
Envision a decline which begins without permission or compromise, and chips away at all you hold dear. Would
you, should you, tell anyone? Continue reading →
Would I be cognizant enough to recognize the subtle changes in myself, were I to follow the path of my mother and her father, my grandfather? Should it come to pass, will my husband or my children recognize it in me first, wistfully acknowledging that in the end, my fate has linked itself to these two who went before? There are moments when these fleeting thoughts dart uninvited every which way in the recesses of my mind. I’ve no desire to linger on such thoughts, yet I can’t help but wonder if my family would be as clueless as I was when Mom ever so gradually began her descent into Alzheimer’s disease. And then, I think not, as we all traveled that journey together. They are now savvy, where I was not.
Over a period of a couple of years, the realization finally came to fruition in my brain. Something was not right with Mom and it was more than normal aging. At my continual urging over a period of months, Mom eventually acquiesced and made a doctor’s appointment for a “check-up.” By that time, because of my suspicions, the diagnosis was Continue reading →
Sometimes toddlers have trouble following directions. We kind of expect this as normal for their developmental age. When this inability to follow directions consistently appears in an older person, however, it can be a red flag warning of potential cognitive impairment.
My two college-aged children, both home on spring break, drove with me the two hours to my parent’s home for a visit. Mom anticipated our visit by having freshly baked cookies waiting for us when we arrived mid-morning. Upon entering their home, our noses were assailed by the smell of scorched cookies. Not only had she overcooked them, but they also had a noticeably strange appearance. She met us at the door, holding the cookie sheet in one hand and the spatula in the other, immediately wanting us to try one of her confections. My children grew up knowing her as their “baking” grandma, who always brought Tupperware containers full of homemade cookies whenever she came to visit. Today, it appeared she’d forgotten to add some key ingredient(s) and her concoction was neither tasty nor appealing. Still, each of us accepted one of the proffered cookies, and somehow managed to choke it down while smiling and nodding at the “success” of her baking endeavor. Continue reading →