Guest Post by Jean Lee
November 1 – 7, 2015 is National Memory Screening Week, an important initiative to encourage the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. I’m delighted to share the following blog post from Jean Lee, author of the memoir Alzheimer’s Daughter. Jean and I connected on Twitter, and I’ve read and reviewed her touching memoir this year. Take it away, Jean.
On my next birthday I’ll be 61 years old. Both of my parents died of Alzheimer’s. I wrote about my journey as their caregiver in Alzheimer’s Daughter. Does the thought that I might become afflicted with the disease haunt me? Yes. It niggles in the back of my mind.
I’m lucky to live in a small town and still doctor with a Marcus Welby, M.D.-type family physician. This man has treated four generations of my family; my parents, myself, my children, my grandchildren. Needless to say he knows us well.
After Mom and Dad died, I asked my trusted doctor about my risk. He answered since my parents had not been diagnosed until they were in their mid-eighties it was not really a part of my family history. He reasoned if everyone had parents who lived into their eighties, nearly everyone would have a history. This reassured me, but still the thought persists, especially when I can’t think of a word I want to use, or lose my train of thought in a conversation.
November 1-7, 2015 is National Memory Screening Week, bringing awareness to the positive aspects of screening and attempting to remove stigma. When I visit my doctor for my yearly physical, my blood pressure is noted, I’m prompted to have a mammogram, vials of blood are drawn, I’m questioned about diet, exercise and assessed for depression. All of these are types of screening. Why not routinely offer a Mini Mental to patients at age 60-65 to collect some baseline data? Comparisons could then be made as we age?