People diagnosed with Alzheimer's are more than three times as likely to die as those without it. (link quote)
Alzheimer’s is often overlooked by many individuals who aren’t dealing with it on the front line. Even those who witness this illness firsthand are often not confronted by Alzheimer’s stark reality. Many who have Alzheimer’s are in homes, hospitals and are cared for by medical personal. Alzheimer’s heartbreaking portrait can only be understood when we understand that, though it is a neurological illness, its effects are seen in the physical realm. Think about it... “the mind is a wonderful organ,” is it not? The mind tells your feet to move, it tells her stomach “I am hungry,” it recognizes beauty... The mind tells our arms to hug, and reminds our nerves that heat is present on the stove top. The mind sees and hears words, and translates them to something meaningful.
The mind. What a beautiful thing.
When a person loses their mind they lose everything. I’m not talking about a mental illness, I’m talking about nothingness.
I saw my mother look into a mirror several times and say, in all seriousness, “Who are you?” Mom didn’t see herself, she saw a stranger in the room. At first, when I saw Mom do this I wanted to laugh and make light of it, as Mom was often a jokester, but it was actually not a laughing matter. Mom saw another person in the room whom she did not know and it frightened her. Sometimes Mom looked at Dad and said “When are you leaving?” Mom and Dad were married almost 55 years yet she forgot who he was on many days. Mom kept waiting for this man , her husband, to leave.
We use the word 'paranoia' when describing some symptoms of Alzheimer’s but a better way to describe it would be mindlessness. Mom was not paranoid, she was losing her mind and it displayed itself as paranoia. Mom never changed. She was always lovely and pretty even in the end, but she could not recognize herself.
Alzheimer’s is more than just forgetfulness. It eventually spreads within the brain, effecting the section which controls the physical functions. A person with Alzheimer’s may eventually forget how to breathe or swallow. According to the Center for Disease and Prevention approximately 5 million people in the US are living with Alzheimer’s.
Still, many do not know that it is a fatal disease. There is no cure.
This figure is likely higher, since many with Alzheimer’s die from related complications.