yin and yang symbol

Love is the center of the yin and yang of Alzheimer’s


July 29, 2016 – In the yin and yang of Alzheimer’s the question of who becomes a victim hasn’t been determined. When it’s a cold or the flu, it’s probably contagious. Not so with Alzheimer’s or other dementia diseases. Just because an afflicted victim sneezes doesn’t mean a visitor will catch it. It has been determined that it’s a genetic disease. Just like blue eyes, it’s something you may, or may not inherit. As our primary care doctor said when I told him of Ken’s symptoms and asked if he would get the same disease his parents had he said, “When conception happens, the fetus has a vast gene pool from which to draw. The answer is maybe yes, and maybe no.” So without testing, there is no definitive answer. 

There is no guarantee in either direction. For me, my mother developed it as she grew older. Not just some cognitive loss, but full-blown Alzheimer’s. The jury is still out for me and my two sisters. So far, so good. We are remembering that our father was of clear mind until he passed to the other side. Perhaps we all got an overload of his genes, which would be fine with us, and if we passed those stronger genes on to our children, that would even be better.


The yin and yang of the disease continues in how it affects people. Ken and I enjoyed the company of a couple who  became two of our dearest friends. The wife is becoming confused and has some mild cognitive loss, and in all probability it will develop into A.D., much to the shattering of her family. During one of our conversations, she had mentioned early on in our friendship that her mother had been afflicted with Alzheimer’s. This was about the time that Ken was slipping away into the dungeon of no return. We thought no more about it, but Carol did mention a sweet remembrance during one of those fleeting moments of clarity when her mom looked at her and said, “Carol, I love you.” The moment was long enough for the daughter to respond with her comforting response, “I love you too, mom.” I don’t recall my friend mentioning other times of clarity where she and her mom connected, but that one moment was a treasure close to her heart.


My heart aches as I see this scene begin to appear in the lives of these dear friends. Visiting them is often like seeing my caregiving years once again only with the roles reversed. Bill, the husband, is her caregiver. In his sweet devoted face I can see the pain and sadness as he watches his best friend, his special loved one slip away into the lost world of Alzheimer’s. I just hope that she has moments of clarity when she can tell her family how much she loves them. Those are the blessings to treasure till we all meet again. The love of family and couples is the bottom line in the yin and yang of Alzheimer’s. 

Originally posted 2016-07-30 17:12:54.

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