An a woman with alzheimers with thought bubble showing one thing, but her speech bubble saying another.

What We Took for Granted Before Alzheimer’s

Upon the first reaction, many people may not immediately think of Alzheimer’s as being life-threatening. On the one hand, it’s a diagnosis that does compromise quality of life over time. Typically, faster than you might anticipate.

Alzheimer’s could play out on a timeline you expect and also in ways you might not see coming.

To hear more about your experiences with this, we reached out on the AlzheimersDisease.net Facebook page. We asked you to answer the following: “The one thing I took for granted before my or my loved one’s diagnosis is ___________.

Overwhelmingly, the answers all pointed to similar conclusions. Here’s what you had to say.

“The trouble they would have communicating.”

Very few who live with the disease or whose loved ones live with the disease realize how quickly Alzheimer’s can and will likely affect the ability to hold a conversation or tell coherent stories. Because of this, one course of action is to start taking steps to preserve your legacy or your loved one’s legacy now -- before it becomes an impossibility.

You can choose to videotape your time together or record on video stories they tell. Ask about their past, or your favorite memories, and allow your loved one to tell the story.

You may want to videotape things yourself or hire a videographer to come in and record your time together, and put together a movie so you can focus on your time with your loved one.

“The trouble they would have communicating, and understanding what you say.”

“That my mom would always be there for me.”

This is one of the hardest truths to face: That our loved one will, at some point, pass. Alzheimer’s is not fatal but does cause complications that can take a life, whether that’s from inhaling food and leading to aspiration pneumonia or from becoming bedridden and suffering a blood clot.

Regardless of how, what’s key is to recognize that Alzheimer’s limits the time we have left, or the time we have left with a loved one.

If you can, let this lead you to make the most of the time you do have, including making special memories. The more you are able to do fun things that mean a lot to you or your loved one, the more that your loved ones or you can hold onto the memories.

You may want to make a special effort to attend live music together or go on picnics. Maybe it’s simply spending more time playing with the grandkids. Maybe it’s time in the kitchen, recording the recipes that have been passed down for generations.

Something else to consider is conversation: Have the conversations now that you’d want to have with a loved one. Those will be memorable. If you like, videotape or record these to play back in the future. Really, there is no wrong way to approach the situation so long as you bring love to whatever you plan.

“That my mom would always be there for me. That I would be able to go to her when I lost my son and now that I’ve lost my husband but instead this horrible disease took my mom and I have no one to talk to.”

Share your story

We want to thank everyone who spoke up and shared about what life is like supporting someone or remembering someone with Alzheimer’s. We appreciate you showing up and being a part of this community.

Tell us your story. Share in the comments the one thing you took for granted before you or your loved one’s diagnosis.

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