I am one of the estimated 110,000 Hoosiers currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, and I would like to share a bit of my experience to help others understand this disease.
- It is possible to live well with dementia. Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is life changing. When in the early stage of the disease, we can still function independently and continue doing the activities we enjoy.
- If you want to know how I am doing, just ask me. I have shared my knowledge and experience with friends and family. Their prayers have helped me live and work through my diagnosis. Though I may sometimes forget your name, please know I still appreciate you asking how I am doing.
- Understand that sometimes words and actions of people with Alzheimer’s are not how we would choose to act. There are times where I may interrupt you because I am worried I will forget what I want to say in that moment. As dementia progresses, we may experience anxiety, aggression and confusion. You can learn about what to expect by visiting the Alzheimer’s Association website at alz.org.
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s are well-defined illnesses. They differ from the challenges with memory due to aging. Talk with your doctor to get proper testing.
- There is hope! Dementia and Alzheimer’s researchers have made incredible advancements. I am grateful to currently be involved in a clinical trial. If interested, talk with your doctor about available studies.
Once again, know that help is available. Many people who are living with the disease and their caregivers feel like they are alone, but there are free resources available. Call the free 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900.
Patricia Bishara, Carmel