Alzheimer’s disease is one dilemma that both the senior and would-be senior citizens are facing with concern today.
Everybody wants to live a long life and a life worth living. It is common knowledge that we humans become more withdrawn, indifferent, insecure and apathetic as we age, yet to strive to live is still our primary option however miserable our lives may be. Life is too precious to lose and death too fearsome to face.
But what would life be with Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a form of brain disorder characterized by a person’s inability to carry out daily activities due to the gradual degeneration of the brain’s memory tissues. It usually affects older people, the people at their retirement age and onwards, although there have been cases where early onset of the disease were observed in people who were still at the fourth or fifth decade of their lives.
There is no proven cause for alzheimer’s disease but there are lots of probable causes and risk factors contributory to the onset of this ailment.
Some suspected causes of AD are genetic relationship or family line, mind impairing sicknesses like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol, diet and the environment.
I belong to a family with a few amnesic members up my line. Stories of disorientation and misplacing things are not uncommon with them. I can remember a time during my teenage years when my mother told me a story how she lost her way to the farm where my father was tending coconuts. It was a big wonder then how she could lose the way that she kept on tramping along almost everyday during that time. She told us that she was really lost and everything seemed upside down. Superstition simply led her to believe that the unusual phenomenon was the work of the spirits who wanted to play around with her. She concluded her story by saying that everything returned to normal when she paused to pray.
My mother has a habit of forgetting or misplacing things.
My mother’s father had also experienced losing his way home from town. They lived in the countryside. He narrated that while on his way home in broad daylight, everything just became different including the grasses and the trees that grew along the way. Good that he was on horse that remembered the way very well. He was brought home anchored on the belief that it was all a show brought upon him by the spirits. It happened in the 1930’s.
The word “alzheimer” was unknown to me until the late 80’s when I happened to bump about the subject in an American publication. It was then that I began to doubt my mother’s and her father’s story.
My mother is now 83 years old. I can sometimes observe her being restless and so forgetful, accusing everyone of stealing the things that she herself misplaced.
Even in the absence of a professional opinion, all of us 6 siblings agree that our mother has some kind of AD.
Our close family bonding, unconditional love for our mother and some basic knowledge about AD had helped us understand our mother’s situation. She just needs love and care in the last few years of her life and it shall not be denied her at all cost. We treat her like a matriarch.
Not one of us 6 siblings have symptoms of early onstage AD. Our eldest is almost 60 years old and our youngest already past 40. I don’t know what will happen if somebody of us goes over 60.
I am 49 years old but the thought of AD doesn’t bother me at all. As far as I know, I don’t have AD’s common early signs like memory loss, difficulty in performing familiar tasks, problems with language, disorientation to time and place, poor judgment, or misplacing things. But should these things happen to me, I wouldn’t have any other choice but to accept the glaring reality and find ways to alleviate or to retard the already slow progression of the malady like getting the help of a professional. No cure has yet been discovered to overcome alzheimer’s disease, but a good preparation will help in making things easier for both the patient and the people around him. Like the life of the king cicada, AD takes time to develop but ends shortly. Almost all cases of death in the elderly are not caused by this disease.
We should therefore put our worries about alzheimer’s disease behind. In today’s fast-paced life, most of us don’t have the time to get it anymore.
Seventy good lifelong years for a lifetime is good enough, too good in fact.
Let us instead take focus on the care of our physical health, for in a sound body, there lies a sound mind where AD has no place to stay.