How sister-in-laws deal with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s

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Crissandra and Juanita are sisters-in-law and best friends. About a year ago Crissandra noticed something had changed in her friend.

“She’d forget something is cooking, she’d just go back in the room, sit down, and look at the T.V.,” said Crissandra.

Juanita was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; she doesn’t have any relatives with it, but she has a silent condition which has been linked to a higher risk of coming down with the debilitating illness.

Studies show that people with a history of high blood pressure or high cholesterol are twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s 65 percent of African American Medicare beneficiaries have hypertension and have a 60 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes. All this spells links to Alzheimer’s.

Tara Mcglothlin Social Services Director at American Senior Communities says, “More people are not able to stay at home, so we’re seeing more of a blend of all races, but particularly the African American population is starting to need more help than 24 hour help.” She also adds people need to get their blood pressure checked much earlier.

“So I think a lot of people don’t get all of their medical conditions looked into, so if any of those diseases are mirroring each other, or symptoms are across the board, then they tend to overlook it,” says Mcglothlin.

The good news for Juanita, she has kept her sense of humor. She’s considered a live wire where she lives at countryside meadows. But the future is clear, there’s no cure.

“It’s not too good, because you forget stuff. It’s not good at all,” says Juanita.

“Nothing I can do about it, but just watch her, love her until I can’t.”

There are medications that can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. But the message here is get checked regularly for high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes, especially if you are African American. Early treatment of those problems may reduce your chances of coming down with Alzheimer’s later.

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