(Mary Elizabeth Williams/ Salon) – My father has dementia. The handsome young man who left before I was born, the pleasant, elusive fellow I have only met a few times in my life, struggles now to remember names and understand context. I got the news via a long-lost cousin recently, just a few days after my mother died after her own lengthy and painful journey through Alzheimer’s.
But my father’s neurological path has been very different from my mom’s, and it provides different warnings and lessons. It seems he didn’t inherit his condition. He didn’t develop it as an inevitable consequence of extreme old age either, because he’s not that old. Instead, it turns out that the seed of his disease was planted long ago. (…)