Apr 21, 2010

Dottys' Roaring 20's Wedding Dress and Trek from Philly to Delray Beach

Alzheimer's dementia is a sinister disease. It knows how to hide. Alzheimer's disease, in most cases, disguises itself as old age.....
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

In a comment, reader Steve said he still feels guilty about not getting his mother tested sooner for Alzheimer's dementia. Its not my place to tell Steve how he feels or how he should feel and I won't.

I can say most, if not all, of us can look back and see lots of signs that could have tipped us off that dementia was on the horizon. How many of us heard these infamous words, h/she is getting old?

If the majority of personal care doctors can't diagnose dementia effectively, I don't see why we would hold ourselves to a higher standard. Alzheimer's dementia is sinister and its sneaky. Alzheimer's is hard to diagnose.

This reminded me of Kristen's wedding. Kristen is Joanne's daughter and Dotty's granddaughter.

At the time Dotty was 84 years old. Without any problem Dotty flew from Delray Beach to Philadelphia by herself. A fairly complicated task for a senior citizen I would think. Get to the airport (27 miles), luggage in tow, get checked in, get on the plane, and arrive in the right place.

On the way home, Dotty decided to save money. To do so she took the Florida Tri-Rail. In order to do this, Dotty had to catch the Tri-Rail bus at the Fort Lauderdale airport. Then, she had to get off the bus and onto the Tri-Rail train. Once in Delray Beach she had to get off the train and figure out how to get home. She decided to take the bus. Here is where the story gets real good.

The bus driver was either so impressed, or so concerned, or both, that a five foot tall 84 year woman could wag herself, and her luggage, all the way from Philadelphia to Delray Beach by herself that he actually drove the public transportation bus off its regular route and right into the Pines of Delray. He dropped Dotty off at the door.

Now to the dress. Dotty arrived in Philly with a new dress for the wedding. See that roaring twenties, flapper dress, up at the top of the article? It is very similar to the dress that Dotty wore to the wedding.

Keep in mind, Dotty was not a 22 year old, flat chested flapper when she slinked herself into that dress.

My sister and I were aghast. I tried to take my mother to Lord and Taylor for another dress. However, she wouldn't hear from nothing, hated every dress I picked out, and even refused to try them on. What do you think I did?

I threw up my hands and thought -- Let it Be. There might have been a few choice four letter words included.

We had all kinds of family members and friends that knew Dotty for years at that wedding. Did any one say --you better get Dotty checked out? Did anyone mention anything about a memory test? No.

In fact most people, once they got over the shock, thought it was cute. Dotty got a "pass" from everyone. Why? Because she was getting old and gee -- anything goes when you are old.

This was around the time that my stomach started hurting by the way.

I mentioned the situation I just described and many other worrisome situations to friends and anyone that would listen over the next couple of years. They all said the same thing
She's getting old.

If I knew then what I know now, I would have gotten Dotty's memory tested.

To get where I am right now, I had to read about 4,500 articles on Alzheimer's, read about 30 books on Alzheimer's and elder care, write about 1,300 articles, and think about Alzheimer's several hours a day for six and a half years.

I feel pretty comfortable that I could spot Alzheimer's dementia at an early stage. Or could I?

Alzheimer's is a sinister disease. It knows how to hide. Alzheimer's disease, in most cases, disguises itself as old age.

Here is a novel idea. How about every two years beginning at age 65, everyone gets a memory test? Just like you get a complete physical.

The assessment test would take about 15 minutes. If you pass the test, see you in two years. If not, immediate referral to a neurologist or geriatrics specialist.

This my friends is what I refer to as Bunkhouse Logic. A simple solution to a fast growing problem. Its so simple in fact that it isn't likely to happen any time soon.

My advice to reader Steve. Forgive yourself man. It is what you are doing right now that really counts. You can't change the past, get focused on changing the future. This is where you will make your mark.

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Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,300 articles with more than 9,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room