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Fraying at the Edges: Her Fight to Live With Alzheimer’s (Published 2016)

🌈 Abstract

The article follows Geri Taylor, a woman in her 70s who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. It chronicles her journey of navigating the early stages of the disease, including her efforts to come to terms with her diagnosis, inform her loved ones, and find ways to maintain her independence and quality of life. The article also explores the impact of Alzheimer's on her husband Jim and their relationship.

🙋 Q&A

[01] Geri Taylor's Diagnosis and Initial Reaction

1. What were the first signs that something was wrong with Geri Taylor's memory and cognition?

  • Geri Taylor experienced several incidents that made her realize something was wrong, such as not recognizing her own reflection in the mirror, forgetting the location she got off the subway, and having trouble with simple tasks like operating the blinds in her bedroom.

2. How did Geri initially react to her Alzheimer's diagnosis?

  • Geri was initially in denial about her condition, trying to "fake it" before finally accepting the diagnosis and deciding to be open about it with her family and friends.

3. How did Geri's husband Jim initially react to the diagnosis?

  • Jim initially withdrew and had trouble adjusting to the news, thinking "this was not what I signed on for." It took some time for him to become more supportive.

[02] Geri's Approach to Living with Alzheimer's

1. How did Geri decide to approach living with Alzheimer's?

  • Geri decided to be open about her condition, rather than try to hide it. She wanted to let the disease "be alive" in her life and not just "throw in the towel."

2. What strategies did Geri use to cope with her memory and cognitive changes?

  • Geri used various techniques like associating things to help her remember, relying on her phone calendar, and developing routines. She also found solace in activities like photography that allowed her to focus and forget about the disease.

3. How did Geri's relationships and social life change after her diagnosis?

  • Geri became more outgoing and chatty with strangers, but also had to navigate how to tell friends and family about her condition. Some were supportive, while others had difficulty accepting it.

[03] Geri and Jim's Evolving Relationship

1. How did Geri and Jim's relationship change after her diagnosis?

  • Paradoxically, Geri and Jim's relationship improved in some ways, as they became more dedicated to being together in the present moment and not dwelling on the future.

2. How did Geri and Jim cope with the practical challenges of living with Alzheimer's?

  • They had to make decisions about living arrangements, caregiving needs, and end-of-life planning. Jim took on more responsibilities to support Geri as her condition progressed.

3. What role did Geri's participation in support groups and programs play?

  • Geri found great value in the Alzheimer's support groups, which provided a "safe place" where she didn't have to hide her symptoms and could connect with others going through similar experiences.

[04] Geri's Pursuit of Experimental Treatments

1. What experimental Alzheimer's treatment did Geri pursue, and why was it significant to her?

  • Geri enrolled in a clinical trial for an experimental drug aimed at slowing cognitive decline. This offered her hope, even though the outcome was uncertain.

2. How did Geri's genetic test results impact her and her family?

  • Geri learned she had two copies of the ApoE4 gene, which significantly increases Alzheimer's risk. This meant her son also had a high likelihood of developing the disease.

3. What were Geri's thoughts on the potential of the experimental drug trial?

  • Geri was hopeful the drug trial could offer some respite from the disease, even if it was a long shot. Participating gave her a sense of purpose and control.
Shared by Daniel Chen ·
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