Is it normal aging or is it Alzheimer’s Disease?

Is it normal aging or is it Alzheimer’s Disease?

My mom will be 75 years old this year. For the most part, she is healthy and still able to take care of herself. She has a laptop and an iPhone and knows how to play games on both, though she really prefers doing word searches in her spare time.

Her boyfriend of ten years has started to forget things. And names. And days of the week. When he didn’t show up for church service, my Mom drove by to check on him. She hadn’t seen him recently, and was getting worried. Later that night, she sent me this text:

He walked me to my car and asked where I lived so I told him. Then he said he used to visit a lady who lived in that town, and they used to play cards and have fun. He had no idea that lady was me. So sad.

My heart sank. He doesn’t remember her. How sad indeed.

Mom is a twin, and her twin sister has Alzheimer’s Disease, as did their mother, and her older siblings have both been diagnosed with dementia. We don’t need a medical professional or researcher to tell us it runs in families: we are living proof.

It’s important to realize that most elders forget things from time to time. Losing your keys is not a red flag. There are red flags, however, and it’s important to recognize which is normal aging and which is something more serious. Check out the 10 Warning Signs from the Alzheimer’s Association and if any of those signs sound like you or someone you know, contact your doctor.

For now, there is no cure for this disease, and it eventually kills everyone it affects. That is a sobering statement and one that I wish were just a rumor.

On a lighter note, ways to keep your brain healthy are the same things that keep your heart healthy, as well as a few things that may surprise you. Here are a few ways to reduce your risk:

  • Protect yourself and your loved ones from traumatic brain injury
  • Stay socially connected
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Move your body
  • Keep your brain healthy
  • Avoid tobacco and too much alcohol

Does Alzheimer’s Disease run in your family? Share your story with us, we would love to hear from you.