For many older individuals, Alzheimer’s disease could hold some scary prospects. When words properly strung together turn into word salad, when simple tasks suddenly become a chore, and when people you once knew so well – even yourself – become strangely unfamiliar, the classical signs of the disease are starting to manifest.
For Manhattan woman Geri Taylor, there were some faint suspicions something was not right ahead of her eventual Alzheimer’s diagnosis. But in 2012, when she wasn’t able to recognize herself in the mirror, the then-69-year-old nurse considered this the kicker, that one event that suggested her fits of forgetfulness and inability to work the blinds weren’t just mere senior moments. Eventually, she was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, which classically precedes Alzheimer’s. And on Fourth of July weekend 2013, she had decided to come clean, telling her immediate family about her condition.
All that was documented in a special New York Times feature that talked about Taylor’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and how she chose to embrace her condition and make the most of her time, despite the fact classical symptoms were setting in, and continue to set in. And it didn’t take hours for people to share their thoughts about Alzheimer’s disease, with some sufferers talking about how they related to the special piece, and others providing tools and tips for caregivers.
“If your loved one is suffering from this terrible disease, do everything you can to spend more time with him or her,” read one comment. “One sees an improving effect on the sufferer with greater proximity to family members and their interactions.” Another reader suggested that caregivers refrain from yelling at their relatives with Alzheimer’s – patience is the key in such cases, and compassion is one of the best tools caregivers can utilize when dealing with loved ones suffering from the disease.
Others took an opportunity to score the government and demand that more research be conducted on Alzheimer’s and how to treat the condition.
“The thought that I, or a family member, could someday be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s fills me with infinitely more dread than the idea that a terrorist may blow up the plane I am traveling in,” said one reader. “This is the war on terror that the federal government should be pouring billions and billions of dollars into.”