My mom has dementia. Am I doomed to the same future?
My mom is currently 92. She has dementia. Her dementia started approx. 10 years ago after my father died. She’s now in an assisted living facility. My mother’s friend is 93. She’s sharp as a tack, independent and vibrant. I am now 70 years old. Should I expect to inherit my mother’s dementia, or can I do something now so that I can live out my days like my mom’s 93 year old friend. I am with my mom 3 days a week and I see what this disease can do to a person’s quality of life. I really, really don’t want to go there.
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Hello @arachel Nice to e-meet you here and I am sorry to hear of your mother's journey through dementia. I am Scott and your feelings of not wanting to ever have dementia are certainly understandable! No one would ever want this terrible disease I am sure!
I am not a medical professional, but as far as I know the majority of dementias are not known to be genetically inherited. For instance I can say while my mother-in-law had dementia none of four daughters are showing any indication of having the disease. Nor are her two sons.
Many of the very best minds in medicine are researching to try and find the cause so they can begin to interdict this disease, but so far no real success. I just happened to be reading an article this morning saying the research focus on amyloid protein deposits in the brain may not be as much of a connection as once thought so the work continues — as does the hope!
None of us can tell the future nor what it will hold for any of us. All we can do is keep on keeping on and hold on to the most positive attitudes we can muster.
I wish you all the best for your mother and for you as well!
Courage, strength, and peace
I do not want to make light of the situation, but I had a doctor tell me during a discussion similar to this, that he prayed that if he ever had to be in a home that he was "crazy as a bat"! He, nor I mean any disrespect, but humor sometimes helps us deal with bleakness. My father passed about 2 years ago after having alzheimers/dementia and being told by his neurologist that nothing more could be done for his memory. He came to my granddaughter's birthday party the next day and gave up the next. H was gone within 2 weeks of hearing that pronouncement from the neur. I know there is some genetic passing along of the genes that cause alzheimers, but I don't think it is an absolute. Science is learning so much about what causes dementia (accumulations of certain proteins within the brain) and ways that removing or preventing their buildup may be just one pathway to treating this horrid disease. I don't think this is something that will occur in the next generation, but may actually help us in a few years. I have the same optimism about replacing bad pancreas' with artificial ones that are no different in functionality than our original. Here is one article I found on scholar.google.com (http://lbdtools.com/mcibook/63-Warding-Dementia.pdf) that speaks to preventing the onset of dementia, but there are many available. I spent a lot of time with my Dad over his last 4-5 years and watched his memory slowly diminish, but it was some of the warmest times we had and I would not trade for anything. All we can do is treat the patient with kindness and compassion and not forget to care for ourselves in the process. Blessings, Gary
Hi there ….. I have the exact same concern that you do. My Dad died of Alzheimer's …… it was a long, slow, and painful (for us) process. I've told my kids that if I ever get Alzheimers, during my awareness time before the worst of it hits, "I will take care of business." They hate hearing that, and I know it sounds awful, but it's true. I don't want to go through, or have my kids go through, the awful stuff my Dad did. It was one of the worst experiences for him and for me, an only child. The Psychiatrist he saw, while in the Nursing Home thought his disease was brought on by alcoholism, as it affected the same portion of the brain. If that's true, or turns out to be true ….. then I'm in luck because I don't touch a drop, and never have. But I fully understand what your concern feels like.
This is a link to an article in 2/26 issue of Time. One thing in the article that I think @arachel would be interested in is that the primary risk factor is old age according to some studies. It is believed genetics may play a small role, but not the most important factor and as Scott points out, there is a tremendous amount of research being done to find better treatments than neurologists currently have available. Prayers for you and your Mom, Gary
Very good article. I wonder now that Pfizer has pulled out of Alzheimer's research whether this study will continue. I read recently that the trouble researches are having is crossing the "brain barrier" line. Maybe it's how they are administering the drug instead of the drug itself. My great-nephew was diagnosed with leukiemia (sp) several years ago. They knew that unless the chemo was actually administered into the spinal column that the brain would be at risk. So the majority of his chemo was administered at home and he had to go to the hospital every couple of months for the spinal injection. I know it's a needle in a haystack but it's a thought anyway!!
Arachel — My mom had Alzheimer's for around 20 years. My dad, my husband and I were caretakers until about three years prior to her death at 86. She spent the last 1 1/2 years in a memory care unit. I do understand how terrible it is to think that this disease could affect us. I'm 62 and very close to the age where I saw symptoms of mom's decline. The hardest part was #1 finding a doctor who would listen and getting mom to the doctor. Mom was over 80 before any doctor would listen. I can no longer do anything for my mom (she's resting in Jesus arms right now) but…my dad is still alive. He's 92 and just slowing down a little. So we spend time with him. I've also am trying to put together an Alzheimer's awareness program for families. So I'm spending my time on the positive. Mom would NEVER want me to worry if I was going to have Alzheimer's. She would want me to live my life to the fullest. I'm staying informed about Alzheimer's disease and active in church, farming, gardening, etc. I'm eating right and exercise. I'm taking care of myself as all "caregivers" should. If you are really worried, keep a journal of symptoms that you are having. That way, if/when you choose to see a doctor, the information is there for him to see. Stay positive…live your life to the fullest. Enjoy your mother for who she is…not what she's become. For me I kind of got to be a "kid" again around my mom. We colored, sang songs, played games. Every visit was different as mom had "anger" issues and would lash out. We were not a family that expressed feelings but I got an "I Love You" out of mom every time I visited. Take care.