Question: Dear Luise: My husband is starting to lose his short-term memory and also his ability to follow conversations and think things through. We have a wonderful relationship and talk about how this is affecting each of us, and our life together. You have mentioned that your husband is in his mid-90s. Are you running up against any of this? If so, how are you approaching it? We’d appreciate any feedback. Lottie
Answer: Dear Lottie: How wonderful that you are partnering on this like you probably have on everything else that has come your way over the years. I commend both of you. Val and I are doing the same thing. He calls it “aging in place”.
Please take your concerns to your doctor. We have…and it’s been extremely helpful. He gave Val a Loss of Cognition test with questions in it like spell the word “world” backwards. No loss is 30. Anything less than that shows some movement toward beginning dementia. Then we talked about short-term memory and he made it very clear that they are two entirely different things. For everyone, short-term memory will fail to some degree, yet it’s possible to have no loss of cognition…rare but possible.
The percentage of people over age 50 with Alzheimer’s Disease is staggering, and over age 80 there are only a few who escape. We talked about medications and found out that there is a huge debate going on in medical circles about the effectiveness of the drugs now available. Pharmaceutical companies are making big claims, often after sloppy research, with poor or no results showing up in about 90% of those who are taking them. It’s a 1.2 billion a year gold mine. Side effects? Costly? Sure!
Terming up and approaching this issue with a “what’s next”, open-minded attitude is your best bet. Good medical advice is imperative. Blessings, Luise