Approaching Darkness: One Man Blogs His Descent Into Alzheimer’s

Below is an article from about the blog of David Hilfiker, a 68 year old man who is blogging about his personal experiences as someone suffering with Alzheimer’s. It offers amazing insight into the mind of someone who is coping with such a devastating diagnosis. Thanks for visiting us at Advocare. Enjoy reading.

I ring the bell for Apartment #2. But before I have time to flatten the creases in my skirt, a gray-haired man wearing no shoes appears at the door and lets me inside.

Retired physician David Hilfiker, 68, has invited me to his Washington, D.C., home to discuss the blog he’s operated for the past 10 months.

David has Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia that causes memory deficits and difficulty performing everyday tasks. This cognitive disorder manifests variably across patients, and its symptoms can appear in people as young as 30 or as old as 90.

He was first diagnosed in September 2012, although he’d experienced symptoms of “mild cognitive impairment” five years beforehand. David Googled “natural course of Alzheimer’s” to prepare himself for the next few years of his life.

“It was about a 10-year period, and you spend a year or two fairly well,” he says. “There was a deep drop over a year or two, and then you spend four or five years dying.”

Paulette Michaud, director of Early Stage Services at the Alzheimer’s Association’s New York City Chapter, explains, “Everyone comes at this disease in a very different way” — both in terms of how it’s diagnosed and how people cope. To define a typical, “natural course” would be misleading, if not impossible.

David is certainly unusual among those who share his diagnosis. Shortly after discovering he had Alzheimer’s and announcing his disease to close friends, family and acquaintances, he launched Watching the Lights Go Out on Blogger.

“I’m a bit of an exhibitionist,” David says, “so I like to talk about a lot of the things that are important to me and … relate to my inner life in some way.” By that, he means his relationships with family and friends, which he believes have grown stronger since his diagnosis.

Continue reading HERE.

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