Recently I attended a wedding where I ran into a friend who I went to nursing school with. My friend is one of the nicest people I know - always happy and vibrant. When I saw her, I went up and gave her a big hug, she did not respond as I expected. I looked at her husband, and he looked at me with a sad face and said 'she is not herself anymore'. He explained she was diagnosed with early Alzheimer's a few years ago. In talking to him, I learned her symptoms started when she began forgetting things and making mistakes at work. He also noticed slip-ups at home. Eventually, he took her to see a doctor as she was not herself. After a series of tests, the diagnosis of Alzheimer's was made.
Over time she has declined significantly and now requires full-time care and help with all of her activities of daily living. Her husband has assumed this role and stopped working to take care of her. She goes to an adult day care center during the day, but the stress of caregiving has been hard on him and his entire family.