In this TED talk, that floats between chilling and optimistic, Alanna Shaikh hits the nail on the head. When I think about Alzheimer's Disease, there are only two thoughts that usually come to mind. Thought A: Denial. I'm not going to get Alzheimer's. I don't have to worry about it. It won't happen to me. Thought B: Prevention. I'll avoid it. I'll do crossword puzzles, eat the right foods (is tuna good or bad? I can't remember) and donate to study efforts and they'll cure it in time and even if they don't I won't get it.
I avoid like hell thinking thought C: me, with Alzheimer's. Just writing that sentence is painful. It's hard to think about. Damn near everything I value about myself takes place in my head, and it hurts to think about that all slowly slipping, to think about my mind ending not abruptly but slowly, piece by piece, while the people I love and who love me watch me forget them, and forget myself, and forget nearly everything else.
In all that mess, it honestly never occurred to me to reach thought D: How can I be a good Alzheimer's patient. How can I not make it miserable for myself.
That's what Alanna's talk is about. Her father, who has Alzheimer's, is her model for what to do when the near-inevitable fate comes, and what to do before that point. Alzheimer's runs in families, so it's likely it will come for her. I don't think I have any relatives who got old enough that I'd know if it's in my genetics.
Here's the talk: