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Early signs of dementia

By Nancy
Posted on

I had the conversation with my spouse.

My husband at age 52 started showing signs of cognitive impairment and a general feeling of being unwell at age 52 and had to stop working in his high stress position in a courthouse. This was around the same time that physician assisted suicide was in the news in Canada and so we started talking about how we would feel if diagnosed with a terminal illness and how far we would be willing to go with treatment. Two years later, a neurologist mentioned that we might be dealing with an early onset of dementia. I broached the subject of having a health care power of attorney and advance directive by saying “remember how we talked about not wanting extensive treatment if we were diagnosed with a terminal illness. I wonder if someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s is able to do those advance care forms or if the dementia would disqualify them of being of sound mind?” He agreed it might be something I should look into for him. I was able to download a ‘kit’ from our provincial government in Canada (different rules for every province here) that helped us to think about all the what if healthcare situations. We decided that we would both fill out the forms “just in case”. I think that my wanting to do the forms for myself also took away some of his worries about doing it. We’ve now completed the forms and given copies to our family physician. Next month when we go back for test results with the neurologist, we will take a copy of my husband’s forms with us so that they have it of file also. I think the fact that we had broached the subject 2 years earlier when we saw a story in the news made the conversation much easier later on. That’s why I am such a supporter of having the conversation now, before the forms are truly needed.

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