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cognitive function

Post image for Alzheimer’s Keeps Me Awake at Night

In the dark, I toss and turn, practicing deep-breathing techniques and willing myself to think positive thoughts. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. In the quiet of the night, there is an endless loop of questions running through my brain.  Will I get Alzheimer’s?  Could I already have it?  Would I know if I did […]

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Post image for What I’ve Learned About Alzheimer’s Disease

The more I learn about Alzheimer’s disease, and other diseases of the brain, the more angry I become.  Some days, I feel ready to explode or implode — I can’t say which — but a “plode” would be involved. This post is really nothing more than a rant.  Thanks for indulging me. What I’ve learned […]

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Post image for The Human Brain: A Three-Pound Wonder

The human brain.  It weighs just over three pounds and is made up of more than 100 billion neurons.  It’s often called the control center, engine or computer of the body. Whatever name you give it, the brain calls the shots. Until very recent years, the human brain was largely a mystery, but within the […]

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Post image for Atypical Types of Dementia: Hippocampal Sparing Alzheimer’s Disease

Earlier this year I began reading about a variant type of dementia called hippocampal sparing Alzheimer’s disease, which results in symptoms far different than Alzheimer’s disease.  Those affected are mainly men and they often begin to show symptoms at a younger age. Hippocampal sparing AD usually advances quickly and it presents initially as bizarre behaviors.  […]

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Post image for A Global Perspective: The Financial Cost of Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias

Yesterday, I wrote about the Third Annual Worldwide Alzheimer’s month.  Now, I’m sharing information about the significant financial devastation for both individuals and nations around the globe. To understand the massive economic consequences of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) has complied some sobering international figures.  This major report was published in […]

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Post image for Teen Steps Up With His Invention to Help Those Living With Alzheimer’s

Sometimes the mother of invention isn’t necessity, it’s a 15-year old boy scout. Kenneth Shinozuka wants to become a neuroscientist and find a cure for Alzheimer’s, a disease that has nearly incapacitated his grandfather.  Someday, he may well accomplish this goal, but right now Shinozuka is still in high school, and instead of a cure, […]

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Post image for Can a Person Ever Be Fully Prepared to Care For Someone with Alzheimer’s?

Earlier this year, I attended a caregivers conference at the University of Minnesota.  The morning keynote speaker was absolutely terrific — an engaging, informed speaker who was also funny and self-deprecating. The speaker’s bio was also impressive.  He was a physician, a teacher, an author as well as a long-time caregiver for his mother who […]

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Post image for Five New Trials Target Alzheimer’s Disease

Last night I noticed a tweet from TIME magazine about some new research trials focusing on Alzheimer’s disease.  Intrigued, I visited their website to learn more.  You can read a very brief overview of each trial by going to the TIME website and reading, “5 Groundbreaking Trials are Testing Ways to Prevent Alzheimer’s.” The headline […]

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Post image for The Sexes and Alzheimer’s Disease: Why Do More Women Develop the Disease?

Recently, I turned on the radio in my car and heard the last few minutes of an MPR All Things Considered segment about Alzheimer’s disease.  A few days later I googled the subject matter and found this MPR link to the audio and an accompanying online story. Take a few minutes to read or listen […]

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Post image for End-of-Life Choices: The Hospice Miracle

My mother continues to deteriorate.  She stopped eating five days ago and is taking very little water.  There is little to do but wait.  In between, we field emails, phone calls, texts and the stream of hospice people. Someone from hospice is here almost daily. I cannot begin to convey my appreciation for this wonderful […]

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Post image for Planning for Your Own Funeral

Today, when I was looking for a document among my mom’s files, I came across a small piece of note paper. In my mom’s scratchy handwriting, she had written: “When I die, contact the VFW. I’ve been a member for 62 years and have a $1,000 life insurance policy.”  The note is is signed, Mom […]

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Post image for Moving Mummy, Again.  And, Again

So much has happened since my last update about my mother.  If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you know my mom, whom we affectionately call Mummy, has Alzheimer’s disease. You may also remember that late last summer my sister and I moved Mummy to an assisted living facility in our small hometown […]

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Post image for Six Alzheimer’s Myths Debunked. Hint: No One is Immune but Wine is Helpful

The media is saturated with coverage of Alzheimer’s disease.  Yet, even with 10 million news stories that show up in a simple Google search, there is still an incredible amount of confusion surrounding the disease. Why?  Here’s my opinion. Many people are afraid of Alzheimer’s disease and consequently avoid news coverage on the topic.  Alzheimer’s […]

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Post image for Dear God, My Mother Has Alzheimer’s Disease, Please Help Her Die

Dear Readers: This Blog Post Was First Published in 2013 When My Mother Was in the Latter Stages of Alzheimer’s disease.  Mom Died in November 2013. I am not a religious person.  I don’t even believe in a higher power, let alone one true God.  Even so, for the past several years I often find […]

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The clock is ticking.  According to the latest Alzheimer’s Association statistics, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease every 68 seconds. Currently, more than 5.2 million Americans are living Alzheimer’s disease and it is our nation’s sixth leading cause of death.  One in three seniors die from Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia.  Since […]

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My mother is trying to communicate.  I’ve been with her for almost two hours on this bright spring morning, and during my visit she keeps trying to tell me something.  She’s unable to find the words. Often I can guess what she wants to convey, but today I’m coming up empty handed. Mummy, as we […]

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The Mummy Update

by Nancy Wurtzel on March 12, 2013

Friends and followers have been asking me for the latest news about my 92-year-old mother, whom we affectionately call Mummy. Mummy has shown signs of dementia for about five years and is in beginnings of severe Alzheimer’s disease. After moving into assisted living last fall, Mummy’s symptoms worsened significantly and she continues in a downward […]

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Yes, you read the headline correctly.  The Star-Tribune, our excellent daily newspaper in the Twin Cities, ran a front-page story yesterday about James W. Smith of Hermantown, Minnesota. Smith, a local Alzheimer’s activist who also claimed he had early onset dementia, is going to jail for faking his illness and bilking taxpayers and his insurance […]

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Alzheimer’s disease is the pits.  Yet, even in the midst of all the pain, frustration and anger, there is sometimes the funny. Oh sure, the humor isn’t the hilarious, laugh-out-loud kind, but it certainly can make you smile or relieve the mundane that is so much of a caregiver’s world. It’s okay to find the […]

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This post was written by Nancy Wurtzel.  It was first published on the website MariaShriver.com.  Please take a minute to visit the Maria Shriver website and see all of the great information and writing for yourself. When you are caring for someone with memory loss, the days all run together.  Indeed, it may often seem […]

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Deep down, we knew it would happen, but we didn’t really have any other choice.  It was just not safe for my mother to continue to live in her senior apartment.  She needed more care, more activities, more everything. My sister and I were exhausted and we’d reached that tipping point, where if you don’t […]

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The Mummy Update

by Nancy Wurtzel on November 5, 2012

Mummy has moved.  Well, actually my sister and I did all the moving, but my mom told us she was ready and agreed on an assisted living facility in our hometown. It wasn’t an emergency situation, but we had definitely reached the tipping point.  The bottom line was that it was no longer safe for […]

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Dementia doesn’t discriminate.  It doesn’t give a rats ass who you are, what you have accomplished in life or how much money you have accumulated. You could be a homemaker, a file clerk, a dentist, a teacher or even a former President of the United States.  Dementia could still find you.  In fact, if you […]

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Is It Alzheimer’s Disease? Looks can be deceiving.  Mary, a slight, sweet woman, moved into my mother’s independent living home about six months ago.  Mummy can’t remember her name and instead calls her “the little young gal.” Mary’s actually 83, so while she is no spring chicken, she might be considered young by many of […]

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Dementia Sucks.  This is my new mantra. I say those two words out loud when I’m alone.  On a really bad day, I might even scream them in the car.  Online, I discuss dementia with people I’ve never met and I write about it endlessly.  I talk to my sister by phone and we sometimes […]

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Post image for What Makes Me Angry? Dementia.

I first noticed signs of my mother’s dementia symptoms during a trip home to Minnesota about four years ago.  I remember feeling panicked.  You see, my dad had Alzheimer’s disease and needed full-time care for years.  That long, awful journey took a terrible toll on him as well as my mom, who was his primary […]

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My Mom called me this morning.  However, this is what we refer to in the Midwest as a mixed blessing.  It was encouraging because Mummy has a very difficult time using the phone for outgoing calls and it often takes her several attempts to reach the person she wants to speak with.  On the other […]

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When I was in my 20s I was great at multitasking, or at least that’s what I thought.  I could drive my dark-gray, stick-shift Mazda down the heavily traveled 710 freeway from Long Beach to my job in downtown LA while drinking coffee, listening to my favorite morning drive show and styling my hair.  I’d […]

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