NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI (WCBI) — “It was small things. And you didn’t really realize it until you put all this together that something was going on.”
Ruth Daniel’s husband Willie suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. She remembers seeing small signs long before the disease took its toll.
“The first thing I ever noticed was he could not find a word. He might say, you know, ‘That thing you sit on,’ but he couldn’t remember chair. And I’d think, what’s wrong? But it might not happen for a long time,” said Daniel.
Mississippi State standout. Professional football player. Local businessman. Alzheimer’s changed everything. Eventually Ruth and her family realized Willie would receive the best care in a Columbus nursing home.
“He would just take me and want to shake me. So my children decided he was so strong and so in shape that we needed to remove him before we had any problems that he didn’t even realize he was doing,” said Daniel.
Early on set Alzheimer’s can affect people in their 50′s. Angela Ray is a social worker at Plantation Pointe. She’s also experienced the affects of Alzheimer’s in her family.
“I had an aunt that was diagnosed at 52 and she had the true Alzheimer’s and she only lived 10 years. She was not remembering to take her medications, not remembering to eat. She’d get her days and nights confused. She’d get up really early thinking it was still night,” said Ray.
Specialists say the best thing you can do is take the early signs seriously.
“Letting a physician know and seeing him regularly. Making sure your drugs are working that does help,” said Ray.
Ruth’s husband can no longer talk or walk, but her family remains strong. She hopes others heed the early warning signs before it’s too late.
“You have to be realistic about it. When you see someone that is over 40, 50 and they begin to have lapses. I pray for anyone that’s starting down that road. It’s not an easy one to travel,” said Daniel.
If you do have a family member or loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s, there are some activities you can do.
Reading to them and showing them photo albums helps them remember the past.
Also, playing games that focus on hand and eye coordination is also helpful.