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Senior moment? Or...
Old 06-26-2006, 10:13 PM   #1
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Senior moment? Or...

...is it something much more serious.

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- A study found that in a disturbing number of cases, embarrassing "senior moments" such as forgetting a recent conversation or drawing a blank on someone's name may really be a sign of Alzheimer's after all.

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Re: Senior moment? Or...
Old 06-26-2006, 11:05 PM   #2
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Re: Senior moment? Or...

very scary.

i've thought as much about my brother. already he forgets conversations we had just a week prior. it is like the twilight zone. all our friends and family say it is stress of raising three kids, running biz, & watching a.d. kill our mom. but seems all too familiar to me. like watching the early years of my mom all over again.

i was part time caregiver for grandpa and full-time guardian for mom and i've already informed my brother i'll not care for him if this is what fate has in-store. i'm not doing this a third time. i'll check up on him once a year to make sure his wife hasn't propped him up in the living room with a lamp shade over his head. i'll make sure he gets into a good nursing home if that's needed. but that's it. i'm done.

alzheimer's sucks.
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Re: Senior moment? Or...
Old 06-27-2006, 05:02 AM   #3
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Re: Senior moment? Or...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum

alzheimer's sucks.
Lazy --

Amen.

I'm sure you've seen the early signs more than I have. The real clincher seemed to be my FIL's inability to do simple math. It's hard to imagine someone with a technical degree and years of business experience just not able to balance a checkbook. He'd just "look" at it and pretend to go through the motions.

Also with my FIL, I am amazed how far his condition has progressed and people don't see it. He is a master at covering up some of his symptoms but others he can't. Before the assisted living facility, DW talked with his minister and he mentioned that my FIL had introduced himself to him 3 times in the course of one evening.

Watch your brother. One of the worst parts is that when someone loses the ability to manage their own finances, they still do. Assisted living / extended care is much nicer if there is money available.
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Re: Senior moment? Or...
Old 06-27-2006, 07:14 AM   #4
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Re: Senior moment? Or...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2B
The real clincher seemed to be my FIL's inability to do simple math. It's hard to imagine someone with a technical degree and years of business experience just not able to balance a checkbook. He'd just "look" at it and pretend to go through the motions.
Yep. The loss of basic math skills was the big eye-opener in my dad's case and was "the" event that led to his AD diagnosis in his late 80's. To dad's credit, he realized he had a problem and asked my brother to take a look at his checking account balance. His checking account was a real mess, and you could see his loss of ability clearly over a 3-4 month period as errors in his checkbook grew until he finally gave in and asked for help.

Luckily there was only one really large error and the net result was positive. In trying to subtract $100 dad subtracted $10,000 so his balance was significantly higher than we thought. And that $10k represented almost 10% of my folk's net savings.

Fortunately (?) dad's AD progressed rapidly and he was dead within two years.
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Re: Senior moment? Or...
Old 06-27-2006, 07:40 AM   #5
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Re: Senior moment? Or...

I'm sorry about your Dad, REW.

I have an aunt in a full care Altzheimer unit who can not speak or communicate any longer. Her doctor said once the brain starts to go the body will follow. Well, in her case she's held on rather well physically for about 5 years.

It's very sad to see someone who is not really there any longer.
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Re: Senior moment? Or...
Old 06-27-2006, 08:40 AM   #6
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Re: Senior moment? Or...

My Mother has it now. The elevator does not go up. She forgets her age. She forgets to go to the bathroom. She forgets her hearing aid. She talks to people who aren't there. She tells me she just received news that her mother died. Her mother's been dead 33 years. Etc. Etc.

Use it or lose it. And, sometimes you lose it anyway! Since people are living much longer, this may become an epidemic, unless some cure can be found.
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Re: Senior moment? Or...
Old 06-27-2006, 09:03 AM   #7
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Re: Senior moment? Or...

I was too lazy to find and read didn't have access to the actual study, but based on the article, I think they are sensationalizing and extending the conclusions a bit.*

The crux of the study seems to be:

All had performed well on memory exams, although those whose autopsies showed Alzheimer's evidence had slightly lower scores on measures of episodic memory, which tested how well they recalled a story that had been recently read to them.

So, they took a bunch of older people, read them a little story about, say, soybeans, and later asked them questions about the soybeans ("What are some of the things you can make with soybeans?").

Later, when some of those people died, they sliced up their brains and found that the ones whose brains were in worse shape had "slightly lower scores" when it came to remembering about the soybeans.

Yes, it generally supports the idea that having a senior moment may be a sign of impending Alzheimer's, but from that to "If you forget having a recent conversation, you're just a few years from Alzheimer's" is a big stretch.*

If that's true, then I know two teenagers who are headed for a care facility.* Also, I can remember some significant senior moments that I had 10 years ago, and I'm still OK at 52.
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Re: Senior moment? Or...
Old 06-27-2006, 09:22 AM   #8
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Re: Senior moment? Or...

Here's the abstract for the actual study.

The researchers' conclusion was:

Alzheimer disease pathology can be found in the brains of older persons without dementia or mild cognitive impairment and is related to subtle changes in episodic memory.
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Re: Senior moment? Or...
Old 06-27-2006, 11:32 AM   #9
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Re: Senior moment? Or...

from my experience in dealing with alzheimer's for at least two generations now, i can say with certainty that i've never come across anything quite so insidious.

through stage 5 of 7, mom was able to fool people for maybe twenty minutes at a time. even within our family, you'd have to look back 30 years to re-read the possible signs we maybe missed at the time.

for instance, since the mid 1970s, mom wrote everything down. our lives were kept on 3x5 cards; she was famous for them. at the time we just thought she was very organized, but in retrospect we wonder if this was an early stage of a.d.

indexter's point is well taken on the study. certainly i never absorbed well what did not interest me. and while the most horrible form of a.d.--known as early onset (eoa)--can destroy a person's life by 40, a self-centered teenager, even one with signs of eoa, shouldn't be worried by any such testing but should be allowed those short years of bliss.

testing seems most important not for diagnosing alzheimer's but for ruling out causes that might be treatable. i would consider early testing for myself & will if i ever notice possible symptoms but only to open my window of opportunity to escape a fate that trapped my mom. though early testing did not much for her.

for me, i only hope i am alert enough to notice, wise enough to test, that i continue to feel as i do now about the importance of quality of life and, finally, that i have courage enough to take appropriate action. only time will tell.
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Re: Senior moment? Or...
Old 06-27-2006, 11:51 AM   #10
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Re: Senior moment? Or...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Indexter
Also, I can remember some significant senior moments that I had 10 years ago, and I'm still OK at 52.
Are you sure?

I agree that the headline of the article is a bit sensational. I think the interesting and potentially exciting thing about the study is that many more people may actually have AD but not suffer the severe degree of dementia and memory loss we've come to associate with the disease. If we can learn why that's the case, maybe AD can become a disease we can at least manage if we can't find a cure.
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Re: Senior moment? Or...
Old 06-27-2006, 01:24 PM   #11
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Re: Senior moment? Or...

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
Are you sure?
Actually, I'm not so sure.

Me: What was that movie we saw with the actor from LA Confidential?
DW: You mean that guy, what was his name?
Me: Starts with a K.
DW: He was in that other movie -- what was it called?

And I'm pretty sure we have more conversations like that than we used to. If the article is right, and that's a bad sign, then I'm glad I'm retiring early.
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