Toni Zobell’s husband Morley was diagnosed with familial Alzheimer’s and passed away just five years later.
“It was very much like being a single mom going backwards,” she recalled.
Of all the diagnoses world-wide, only 10 per cent are familial. The other 90 per cent are called sporadic.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and, according to Dr. Robert Sutherland, the disease can start with symptoms as small as forgetting simple day-to-day things.
“Remembering what you had for breakfast and where you parked your car, that kind of daily information that we need to retain in memory that starts to decline. That’s almost always the very first symptom.”
A loss of hearing is often a first sign,” Sutherland said.
“People who have had uncorrected hearing loss have a much greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease,” Sutherland explained. “It is a bigger factor than lack of exercise, lack of cognitive stimulation and poor diet.”
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Sutherland encourages people to get tested if hearing loss becomes noticeable.
There are different ways to fight the disease, according to Sutherland, including a more Mediterranean diet, exercise and a vibrant social life.
Even after a diagnosis, he says it is important to remember to use the tools at your disposal, like the Alzheimer’s Society.
Zobell knows the importance of the variety of services and assistance for those who have dealt with Alzheimer’s.
“There’s support groups for care partners, there are a variety of agencies available to provide some type of home care if that’s what the need is. None of that really was available when I was going through my journey.”
The society will be at the Norridge seniors home on Jan. 23 and the Lethbridge Seniors Centre on Jan. 24.
There is more information online at Asant Cafe.
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