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An Alzheimer's Patient Speaks

Posted by Administrator on 9/18/2013

An Alzheimer's Patient Shares - What Is Memory Loss  Like?

I am honored to share this first-hand account about what it feels like to have Alzheimer's disease from patient, author, and advocate, Rick Phelps.  Rick has early-onset Alzheimer's disease, diagnosed at the age of 57.  Rick has bravely decided to share his memory loss journey with others in the hope of raising awareness and understanding.  He has authored a book, "While I Still Can", and founded a support-style Facebook group, Memory People.   
 
With Rick's permission to share, here is a recent writing of his of how it feels to be a patient with Alzheimer's disease.
 
"I am really, really tired of not being able to recognize things. This started a few weeks ago, and has steadily progressed.

I suppose it doesn't help that when you can't find something, when all along it is right in front of you adds to my frustration.

There are many things that are aggravating about this disease, but this for me is at the top of my list right now anyways.

I should have realized this would happen, guess it never really occurred to me. It's not everything, or all the time. But it is way to often.

One gets used to, or lives with going into a room and forgetting what you were in there for. Many people do this. But in my case, and other patients I cannot even recognize the room.

When you have this disease you never get used to forgetting things. You do learn to live with it. That's a lie. How do you ever learn to live with this disease.

It never ceases to amaze me the things you lose. Things I have always taken for granted. If I want a cup of coffee, I get my cup and hit the little button.

Now, for whatever reason I have to search for it, then remember what I was looking for, and on and on.

I am really tired of forgetting things. Tired of not recognizing things also. I have to believe this will be how it is in the later stages. Except with everything...family, friends, my surroundings, whatever.

I never make posts like this for a pity party. I just want people to realize what I am dealing with, to perhaps give you a heads up on what your loved one could be going through as well.

Take feeding them for example. Many people say their loved one won't eat, refuses to. When in fact it could be as simple as they have no idea what is going on.

They have forgotten what is needed to do to eat. They don't have any idea what this thing is you are coming at them with. To you its just a fork, to them its something you are trying to stick in their face.

My not being able to recognize things was something I hadn't counted on this soon. And I never thought of objects. I was always worried about forgetting my loved ones.

Think about this, if your loved one can't recognize you, can you imagine what else they cannot recognize? They could very well be living every day in fear. The fear of not knowing, not recognizing anything.

And in some cases, anyone. Three months ago I never entertained the prospect of not recognizing things. In that little time it has now become an issue.

Something to try to remember, next time your loved one seems scared, or not wanting to do anything. They could have forgotten what ever it is you are trying to help them with, and forgotten you for that matter....".
 
Thanks, Rick, for sharing your amazing insight.  It is a help to everyone touched somehow by Alzheimer's.

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