Dementia under 65: Where do they fit in?
It was love at first sight when Sandy met Doug. They had both ended long marriages. They shared a passion for work, a love of travel, and had compatible plans for retirement. They clicked instantly.
The McLean’s married two years later and were in the midst of living the lives they’d dreamed of when Doug, a top executive, lost his job because of increased anxiety and diminishing cognitive abilities. Things didn’t get better. Doug became depressed and delusional. He could no longer tell time or do math, and he struggled with his memory.
So they began looking for answers. Over the next three years, Doug and Sandy went to doctor after doctor without a definitive diagnosis. It wasn’t until a second neurological test that Doug was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia and immediately put on the right medications. Finally, his symptoms were manageable and the McLean’s were able to fulfill some of their travel dreams.
At 60, Doug is fit and physically active, and is keen to continue life to the fullest. Being active is good for him, but it’s a challenge for Sandy. Doug needs safe, non-judgmental environments, and many activity programs for people with dementia are for seniors 65 and older. Doug doesn’t feel like he fits in. Sandy is his 24/7 caregiver and advocate. She makes sure Doug keeps busy and plans all of his activities. But that doesn’t leave much time for herself. And, that dream of moving into a house they built outside of their city has been gently let go.
The Alzheimer Society of Manitoba has been a lifeline for Sandy and Doug, offering activities, resources and support services. But we can do so much more. Donate today so that we can better support caregivers like Sandy and fund vital research to eliminate this disease and its impact on Canadians like Doug. Because it’s not just their disease. It’s ours too. #InItforAlz