Here at the Mayo Clinic, I, along with my colleague from the Alzheimer's Association, facilitate "Memory Club," a group for persons with early Alzheimer's disease and their care partners. Here is what one of our former participants shared:
I worked as a computer engineer for 35 years. Several years ago I was having some problems. Things were not right. I had tests to see how my memory was. I was told I had Alzheimer's disease. I was 64 years old. I wondered if they could fix my Alzheimer's disease. I wondered how many others were like this. I wondered why me, I was too young.
Things have changed for me over the past couple of years. I spend more time looking for things. I get more frustrated. When I start to say something the words float away — that's the hardest.
I don't mind telling others about my disease. I want them to know why I am struggling. Telling others helps me cope.
I have 4 children and 6 grandchildren. I have 2 sisters. I have good friends. Being with others who accept my disease helps me cope.
When I am around people I usually have a good joke. I can't change the past, and I can't change what the future brings, so I choose not to worry about it. Humor helps that.
I participate in an early stage support group with others going through a similar situation. I find it helpful to be with others like me and see how they are handling it. Alzheimer's, from what I can tell, is not going away anytime soon. My support group helps me cope.
Most of all, my wife makes it possible for me to cope even though I know it is hard for her. She worries about the future.
Someday they will fix this disease. People are working hard on it everyday. I don't let this disease get the best of me. You can have this disease and still have a good life. It is important for people to know this.