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Tue, Oct. 15

Grandma Goldie

Courtesy (family) photo<br>

Courtesy (family) photo<br>

Hello Simply fit readers. This is a big week for me. It's the last week that I will spend in my 30s. That's right; I'm turning the big 4-0 on March 6. Turning 40 is very exciting to me. I feel like I am finally beginning to fit into my own skin.

I joke with my friends and co-workers that I am "over the hill" because turning 40 is synonymous with this phrase, but I don't feel like I'm over the hill. Instead I feel like I'm on top of the mountain - in front of me is a vast land that I have yet to travel. Behind me is a past that has brought me to this point. I can't wait to see what my 40s have in store for me.

Unfortunately my milestone is shadowed by a terrible illness that affects approximately 5.3 million people and is the seventh-leading cause of death according to the Alzheimer's Association.

My grandma Goldie has been the victim of Alzheimer's for several years now. Sadly, she is now under the care of Hospice because her condition has recently deteriorated. The family is beginning to rally in anticipation of the inevitable and my heart if filled with sadness.

I am sad for my children who will be dealing with a family member's passing for the very first time. I am sad for my mom who will be losing her own mother. I can't even imagine what that feels like. I am sad that this disease has taken my grandmother away piece by piece in the cruelest of fashion.

I find peace knowing that her pain will soon be over and Grandma Goldie and Grandpa Al will be together again. Together with all those who have gone on before them. What a celebration it will be!

Peace.

Here is some information about Alzheimer's according to the Alzheimer's association:

• Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia; accounts for an estimated 60-80 percent of cases.

• Difficulty remembering names and recent events is often an early clinical symptom;

• Apathy and depression are also often early symptoms. Later, symptoms include:

• Impaired judgment, disorientation, confusion, behavior changes and difficulty speaking,

• Swallowing and walking.

• Hallmark abnormalities are deposits of the protein fragment beta-amyloid (plaques) and twisted strands of the protein tau (tangles).

Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease can affect different people in different ways, but the most common symptom pattern begins with gradually worsening difficulty in remembering new information. This is because disruption of brain cells usually begins in regions involved in forming new memories. As damage spreads, individuals experience other difficulties.

The following are warning signs of Alzheimer's:

• Memory loss that disrupts daily life

• Challenges in planning or solving problems

• Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure

• Confusion with time or place

• Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

• New problems with words in speaking or writing

• Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

• Decreased or poor judgment

• Withdrawal from work or social activities

• Changes in mood and personality

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