She doesn’t remember my name…

Updated: Mar 8, 2020

The pain of it is still real today like it just happened. I knew it was coming, I had seen the signs but when my grandmother could no longer remember my name… a part of me died. I called on a Sunday like I do on occasion and she asked my Uncle who I was (which was normal at this point). He told her “Its Latrese, Ma” (normally this is when she says… “I knew it was Latrese sounding like Ms. Obama”) Not that day though, that day she said “Who is Latrese?”

Many people aren’t close to their grandparents or may not have ever met their grandparents but I was always close to my father’s parents and my mother’s mom. Both my grandmothers have overcome insurmountable obstacles while raising large families. Both of my grandmothers have a form of dementia. Watching these incredibly strong women go through this disease is extremely difficult because physically they are healthy, it’s just their mind is stuck somewhere in yesteryear. I began to wonder though, what exactly IS dementia?

In doing research for this blog, it has become very clear to me what I have been suspecting for years, families particularly those in under-served communities, have no idea what dementia actually is or the fact that Alzheimer’s is only 1 of the many types of dementia. In fact, 60%-80% of patients with dementia in fact have Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. However, there are a few others.

Types of Dementia…

There are many other types of dementia.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

“Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term, sometimes referred to as an umbrella term, which describes a wide range of symptoms. These symptoms impact a person’s ability to perform everyday activities independently. Common symptoms include:

A decline in memory

Changes in thinking skills

Poor judgment and reasoning skills

Decreased focus and attention

Changes in language and communication skills

Alzheimer’s disease is one type of dementia, but it’s not the only one. There are many different types and causes of dementia, including:

Lewy body dementia

Frontotemporal dementia

Vascular dementia

Parkinson’s disease dementia

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease