I am not here anymore.
Somewhere else is where I am.
A place so hard to find,
you cannot see me here
or visit me there
or wish me out of this anywhere.
If this is where I am supposed to be,
why can't I find me?
-Joanne Koenig Coste

From "Learning to Speak Alzheimer's" by Joanne Koenig Coste:

Beth arrived for her doctor's appointment two hours late-and terrified. "I can't remember the day, or month, or sometimes even the year," she sputtered. "What's happening to me? Am I losing my mind? Am I crazy?"

Her physician, trying to offer reassurance, said, "You're seventy, Beth. What do you expect? You can't perform like a twenty-year-old anymore."

Like all of us, Beth wanted to perform as she always had, regardless of her age. A serious decline in mood, cognition, or functional behavior is not a normal part of aging; it indicates an underlying medical problem.

According to the National Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's disease has ten warning signs:

  • Loss of memory
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • Problems with language
  • Disorientation to time and place
  • Poor or declining judgment
  • Problems with abstract thinking
  • Misplacing things
  • Changes in mood and behavior
  • Change in personality
  • Loss of initiative

    Other conditions that can appear to be Alzheimer's disease include the following:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Drug interactions
  • Emotional problems/depression
  • Endocrine imbalance
  • Infection
  • Metabolic disorder
  • Poor nutrition or dehydration
  • Trauma (emotional or physical)

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