A year and a half ago my Mom passed away from Dementia. She was 89 years old and had been diagnosed about two years earlier. Consequently, her need for care was relatively short. However, since she lived with me and my husband, who had also been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, it became a very stressful time in my life.
Through this, I experienced many differences. I was caring for an 87 year old woman (and mother) who had Dementia and I was also caring for a 65 year old man (and spouse) who had Alzheimer's. Because my mom was old and had lived a very full life, I knew that her time on earth was coming to an end. Although that didn't make things any easier, I was able to put it in perspective.
When my husband was diagnosed at 63 years old, he had only had symptoms that something was wrong for about six months. Since neither he nor I knew of anyone personally who had Alzheimer's, we didn't have first hand knowledge of what lied ahead. He was immediately put on Aricept and later Namenda was added. Life pretty much remained the same for about four and a half years so the reality of the disease didn't really hit home for quite a while after diagnosis. We continued to travel and enjoy doing the things we always did but in the past year and a half, I've seen dramatic changes in him. They range from memory problems to confusion to requiring help to dress and help with all personal care. In the past few months, he has also been having paranoia and hallucinations which we are currently in the process of trying to control. I think I have just recently come to the realization that I am losing my partner and best friend. To look at him, he looks like a good looking, healthy, 69 year old who has nice skin and distinguished grey hair. This I can't seem to be able to put in perspective.