Join us for a walk against Alzheimer’s

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My name is Sandra C. Frank. Many of you will remember me from the Mississippi State Employment Service, others of you went to school with me or know me from another area of life.

I am now retired and have been handed a mixed diagnosis. One doctor gave me a diagnosis of mild Alzheimer’s disease; another says I may have mild dementia, but I definitely do not have Alzheimer’s. Both doctors want me on Aricept and Namenda.

Where does that leave me? The thing I know for sure in this situation are this: I do have some dementia, which even I already knew and the medicine helps.

Email newsletter signup

I agreed to become the ambassador because I feel education for patients, caregivers and families is the most important key we can use to lock this hideous thief out of our lives.

Whatever is wrong with me, I have faced it and the possibilities it brings. I have my family behind me and am looking forward to a long happy life, because I intend to fight it for all I am worth. We just have to deal with it. That is what prompted this Top of the Morning.

Take a little tour with me around the disease and see if you feel it is in need of rejection.

Do you forget where you put your keys, or your medicine, or your book, or when you were supposed to be somewhere?

Have you ever forgotten where you parked, and panicked for a minute? Remember the last time you walked into the kitchen and couldn’t remember what you came in to get?

Do you think that this will never happen to you? Well, guess again! This is just a taste of a day in the life of someone with mild dementia. Dementia is like a thief! Its insidious symptoms sneak in and steal our loved ones right before our eyes. Dementia is generally considered a disease of the aging and does primarily attack older people, but like many other diseases it comes in all shapes and sizes, and the severity of the disease varies from person to person. The only sure thing about dementia is that some degree of the disease will hit 98 percent of us eventually.

Alzheimer’s Disease is a form of dementia that is currently becoming a major problem in our society. Although all Alzheimer’s is dementia, all dementia is not Alzheimer’s. Sadly, this form is no respecter of age.

It hits people in all age groups and insidiously steals their comprehension of facts, places, people and events until all memory of present life is gone. Those who are lucky enough to have a memory left at all, generally remember times and people from many years ago. The really sad thing about Alzheimer’s is that when a person is diagnosed with the disease, it is a diagnosis that will directly affect the entire family and friends of that person. They all suffer.

Finding out all we can about what causes and what will cure or ease the effects of Alzheimer’s is imperative. Research for this disease is a must if we are to control this disease or cure it.

Education is vitally important because we are dealing with a thief that steals our minds and our loved ones. The Alzheimer’s Association of Natchez is having a volunteer walk at 9 a.m. Saturday on the bluff to raise awareness of the disease and help raise funds for Mississippi chapter. We are asking for your support.

Sandra C. Frank is an ambassador for the local Alzheimer’s Association.