Scariest thing I've heard in years - possibly ever

Yesterday I spoke with an acquaintance who remained close to a family I had been in touch with maybe 5 years back. Call them the Smiths. Bob Smith, the dad, was head counsel for a large organization. Maybe 10 years older than me, which would make him 60-ish now. Lovely home, kids were doing well. At the time I knew them they were looking forward to Bob’s retirement.

The guy I spoke with yesterday says Bob got early-onset Altzheimer’s. Today he is totally helpless, and recognizes nobody. My acquaintance described stopping by their house while the family was out doing yard work. Bob was locked in the car in the driveway, because that was the only way they could be reasonably sure he wouldn’t hurt himself while they did the yardwork.

I’m not sure I can imagine a worse thing happening to me. I asked my wife if that ever happened to me to please kill me. I’m wondering now if she didn’t agree a little too quickly … :wink:

How awful. I really feel for Bob’s family.

I also agree with your sentiment should it ever happen to me. I have reciprical “poison jelly bean” agreements with several close friends and family members, just in case any of them can’t bring themselves to do it.

This has happened to my Paternal Grandmother.

If it’s any consolation it might be worse for the relatives who knew who that person used to be, than for the person suffering it.

We lost a dear family friend a decade back, and then again when he died. At one time he was the largest owner of Egyptian Arabians in the world, a true inspiration in the Christian music and recording world, a business genius and despite all that just one of the finest, most compassionate guys you’d ever want to know. We watched all that fade away and it was disheartening, tragic beyond belief.

It’s weird, but not quite unsurprising, how some people almost seem to revert to their early childhood state, as if it is the only way they can handle their impending death. What is the youngest known definite case of an Alzheimers sufferer?

Yeah. The worst thing I can imagine would be to get to a position where I was of no “help” to my family and friends, did not improve their lives in any respect, but instead was a constant drain upon their time, money, and emotions.

If I were a paraplegic with my brain working, well, at least they could think I could appreciate their efforts, and they could potentially communicate to me whether or not I could reciprocate. But to essentially be little more than an adult-sized infant requiring constant care. Taking that time and energy away from whatever else they could be doing.


“Honey, where’d I put the keys?”
“Oh, Dinsdale, clearly you’ve lost your mind. I always promised you I’d end it when the time came, so…”


Friend of mine had a father who went totally senile. He was old (90?) but physically still in decent shape. As he declined into dementia they started having to tube feed him etc. A strange benefit of Alzheimer’s, my friend said, was that at least his father couldn’t remember the ordeal from the day before.

My poor Aunt Mary died this month from Alzheimers. She was completly and utterly gone by the time she passed - didn’t recognize her children or husband, on a feeding tube, just nothing left of her. Alzheimers sucks.

A guy down the street from my parents had early-onset Alzheimers. For a while, he still had it together enough that he could wander around the neighborhood. One time, my dad (who’s about five years older than him) was out in the front yard raking leaves, and he stopped and watched for a while. After a few minutes, he said, “I used to do that, but now I can’t remember how.” Then he turned around and walked home. He died of it a few years later.

We had dinner with my husband’s paternal grandfather last Sunday - he is about 82, and he has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, too. I know it gets really bad later on, but right now, it’s still kind of heartbreaking - he’s basically your normal, active older person, with big, glaring cracks showing, foreshadowing what’s to come. Truly, awesomely sucky.

Mine too.

She’s been this permanently distressed and confused shell of the woman she once was, for nearly ten years now. Because she’s under 24-hour medical care, she’s outlived all my other grandparents - for zero quality of life.

If euthanasia weren’t illegal, I’d push the button for her, right now.

Might be is quite an understatement. Especially when it starts when the person is 50. My mother died of it at 59 after 9 years of deterioration. That’s way too young for Alzheimer’s.

Yes indeed. I’d say my mother’s Alzheimer’s is probably worse for my father than for her, as she really cannot be left alone. VERY wearing. And now Dad will need a hip replacement so that will be a bother while he has that done and then recovers. Bah, the guy’s 74: it’s such a shame. It’s bad for my mother, too, of course, but truly it’s worse for him, I think. Rotten bastard disease.:frowning:

According to wiki, it can sometimes manifest as young as 16 when it comes to the familial form of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Scary shit indeed.

My paternal grandmother passed away in her mid-80s after a series of strokes, each of which pushed her deeper into dementia. It was truly heartbreaking to watch, though as others have said, we probably suffered far worse than she did… she was usually quite blissfully unaware of her surroundings (which was a blessing - special care units in nursing homes can be utterly nightmarish at times) At least she was in reasonably good health almost up to the end.

Spaz, I’m very sorry for your loss - my own mother is just about to turn 59, and that’s just way too young. :frowning:

Lost both my paternal grandparents to Alzheimer’s. While it was bad enough to see what happened to them, it was horrific to see what it did to my father as he watched both his parents succumb within a few years of each other. I hope I don’t have to go through the same with him. I don’t think I could do it.

yeah - I’d have to strongly consider OD’ing or jumping while I was still with it enough to pull it off.

I worked for a guy who founded his own business in the garage of his house. Five years later, he had sales approaching $40 million per year. He was a great guy and one hell of a business man. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease when he was fifty years old and by the time he was fifty-five, he was a shambling, drooling wreck. He kept himself in great physical condition all the years I knew him so he will probably live a long, pointless life. It really was a heart breaking thing to witness.

  1. The feeding tube thing. It doesn’t have to happen. Just say “no”. (Oh, the irony.) PEG feeds have no place in dementia care.

  2. I looked after a woman who was diagnosed in her thirties. It was entirely unpleasant to see teenage kids visiting their mother in a nursing home.

I have a friend who’s 42 and was just diagnosed a couple of weeks ago. She has a 14YO son. :frowning:

I’ve a relation who has horded a lot of very strong painkiller and sleeping pills. He changes his stock every year or so to make sure the pills are still good. They are in a drawer in his bedroom. His wife and kids have been told that he will OD on them if this sort of thing happens to him and if he is somehow in the position where he can’t do it they’ve to try and work out a way to make it look like he did it himself.

He is very serious about this.

I couldn’t agree more with him. I’ve told him that I’d help if he needed it. I deal with the pain after…