No point in learning a terrible fate

Monday 17 March 2014

They tell me I must wade into waters, where I will soon drown.

The diary note left by a man who has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

It is part of writer Khaled Hosseini’s latest novel And The Mountains Echoed. His description of a character’s descent into dementia is moving, compelling and accurate.

I know this because my mother is nearing the end of her own steady advance into the same deep and featureless ocean.

This week scientists revealed they have developed a test for Alzheimer’s that can identify the condition three years before it begins to destroy ruthlessly the hippocampus, the brain’s control hub. But as there is no cure who would want to receive such bleak news?

True there are some drugs that claim to delay the onset of certain dementias. My mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 18 months ago and started the therapy but I don’t think it’s done much good.

Read the rest of Richard and Judy's Daily Express column here.
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  • You are right. There are 4 women in my distant familial orbit in their 80's, all with dementia. I can think of only one reason to know: to plan. Organise financial and medical power of attorney, write a living will, helping the appointed person know, in writing, witnessed, the circumstances in which I would not wish to be resuscitated.

    Katie H

  • Read Sally Magnuson book on Dementia-terrific!!