Dementia in Women

Yesterday, on my way home from running some errands, I noticed an elderly man and a middle-aged woman walking down the sidewalk together as he pushed a specialized wheelchair through our neighborhood.  I'm not normally in that part of our neighborhood on a weekday afternoon and have never noticed them before.  He and the woman were chatting.  I quickly deduced that she was a home health aid when I saw a wipe cloth in her hands and her position in relation to the chair.  I realized the wheelchair was occupied by a profoundly debilitated elderly woman.  She was nearly in a fetal position in the chair.

I do not know what has brought the woman into this stage in her life.  I assume she is the gentleman's wife.  She could have suffered a major stroke, have a degenerative neurological disorder or is in an advanced stage of dementia to just name a few of the possible scenarios.  I would not stop to interrupt their walk just to satisfy my curiosity.  What struck me, however, was that no matter what the cause was, she was taken outside for a walk.  It is a simple, ordinary act for the vast majority of us.  For this trio, it had to have been a bit of a challenge.  They had to maneuver her into the chair, secure her, and make sure they could meet any immediate need of hers which could pop up during the course of their walk.  Seeing them made me wonder how many care providers are able to get their charges out for a walk even once a week.  Seeing them made me wonder what will happen with Lyn in a year or two.

Unfortunately, in addition to there being more women than men with Alzheimer's Disease, the evidence is mounting that women with Alzheimer's show more deterioration than men.  Of particular note, when women have Alzheimer's they score more poorly than men do on tests measuring their verbal skills.  For years, it has been posited that women have greater verbal skills than men do but this is not necessarily true even in the healthy population.


Popular Posts