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My maternal great grandfather was “senile,” and his daughter, my grandmother, also developed “senility.” Her daughter, my aunt, in a nursing home for “memory issues” would have dinner every night with her husband, and then later ask who the man was that she dined with. All of these relatives have long died.

In spite of this my mother’s family vehemently denies that any of them had Alzheimers. When I discussed the concern with my cousin that she and I were at-risk, she said that medication was the reason all of them were “senile,” and the reason why her mother had memory loss. When I disagreed, she got upset with me, and we’ve not been in contact for nearly three years. I might add they have all lived very sheltered lives in a very small town in another state, blissfully ignorant and unaware of anything outside their little world. On the other hand, I’ve lived in a large city and my professional career spanned over two decades working in the healthcare/mental health field.

I’ve learned first-hand that lack of knowledge and education can divide families.

In spite of the fact that Alzheimers was “discovered” in 1906, we didn’t really talk about it or hear much about it until approximately 25 years ago. In the past ten years it’s achieved more recognition and been more widely discussed and diagnosed. To say there is still a long way to go is putting it mildly despite the fact that in this country alone there are nearly six million diagnosed cases. And there is reason to believe that by 2050 one in seven people will have the diagnosis.

The Dementia tsunami is coming.

Little did I know that I would one day discover I was in a relaationship with someone diagnosed with Dementia. This is my journey …

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