Let’s say that you're a highly respected linguistics professor at Columbia University.
You’re 50, have an adoring husband, three beautiful grown children, a great Upper West Side apartment in New York City, a beautiful beach house, and suddenly, your life as you know it slowly begins to unravel.
This is the plot of “Still Alice”, an emotionally retching movie for which Julianne Moore deservingly won the Academy Award.
Early-Onset of Alzheimer’s Is Absolutely Frightening.
Her early-onset of Alzheimer’s disease starts when she’s not able to remember a common word during a speech. Next, Alice gets lost and disoriented while jogging around the Columbia campus. That’s when she thinks she has a problem and consults her doctor.
After running a battery of tests to confirm his diagnosis, her doctor says, “With familial early-onset, things can go fast. And actually, people who have a high level of education, things can go faster.” Consequently, her children may have a 50% chance of inheriting the mutated gene, too.
As the film progresses, Alice forgets where the bathroom is at her beach house and pees her pants. She freaks out when she can’t find her cell phone in the middle of the night. Near the end, she sadly can’t remember one of her daughter’s names. Heart-breaking!
For me, with a mother who’s 97 but still mentally sharp, this is a frightening look at the reality of a dreaded disease that can affect most of us in our golden years.
Misplaced Keys vs. Causes For Concern.
Let’s face it, we all forget where we put our keys once in a while or can’t remember someone’s name or who sang a song playing on the radio. That’s normal because we all have so much sensory overload.
But if you happen to find your keys in the refrigerator or microwave or in your car with the engine still running, it’s cause for concern.
If you forget the name of someone you just met, don’t worry about it; but if you can’t remember being introduced to them or forget the name of someone you’ve known for years, that’s another red flag that something may be wrong.
If you can’t remember a certain word and do remember a similar word, that’s normal. The right word will spring into your head a while later. But if you create a new word, you could be having a memory problem.
According to an article in Parade Magazine: “Many causes of symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s—depression, medications, insomnia and the stress of excessive worry—are reversible. And hopeful news: Researchers continue to make discoveries that provide insights into Alzheimer’s and are investigating new drug treatments for the disease.”
If you are interested in helping or would like to find out more about recent findings in dementia care, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website (www.alz.org/norcal).
SGD is the Bay Area advertising, marketing and branding agency specializing in seniors and boomers. We’ve repositioned, rebranded and relaunched senior living communities in California, Kentucky, Maryland and Virginia attaining an occupancy rate of 90% or more in very competitive markets, despite recessionary times.
About the Author: Gil Zeimer is a Creative Director / Copywriter at SGD Advertising specializing in senior / boomer, healthcare, lifestyle, financial, travel / leisure and technology brands since 1984