Over the course of the last couple of months there has been a lot of attention brought to Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.  Most likely, due to the movie  Still Alice and the attention it received over the award show season. Julianne Moore does an incredible job of portraying Alice Howland who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease.

There are so many terms designated to parents who are overprotective of their children.  We have been labeled controlling, “helicopter parent”, “mama bear” and a new term I just read about…the “lawnmower parent”.  As I have been reading about all these terms I realized that not only do I fall under all these categories as a mother but they also apply to me as my role of a daughter.

I have to say I am extremely lucky to have a close group of friends.  I  met my friends at different stages throughout my life.  I have close friends who I've known for over 30 years, friends who I met throughout my teenage years and friends who I  met through my children. The older I get I realize that it isn't the quantity of friends you have but the quality of friends.  Over the last several months, I have truly seen the importance of having friends.  My friends are people who I can rely on and friends who have been there through my highs and my lows.

Over the course of my career I have dealt with many families who were looking to hire a potential caregiver for their parents.  Families are needing respite and are looking to share the responsibilities of care giving with a trained nurse’s aide.  It is important that you select the right professional caregiver for your parent and the following tips will help you.

I cannot begin to tell you how many people have come up to me over the last 15 years and told me they think they have Alzheimer's Disease. People of all different ages, young and old, will say, "Trish, I can't remember where I put my keys, I think I am losing it"; "Trish, I walked into the kitchen and forgot why I went there";  "Trish, I lost my phone twice this week, but thank goodness I found it"; "Trish, what is wrong with me, do I have Alzheimer's Disease?"  The answer is 99.99% of the time "No".  I don't take these comments lightly, but lets not confuse what is normal memory loss with Alzheimer's Disease.

This month it will be two years that my grandmother passed away.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her.  I can honestly say my grandmother was one of my closest friends and her passing has left a big void in my heart. My grandmother was 93 years old when she passed away.  She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and as her disease progressed my love for her grew even more.  I felt the need to protect her.  Truthfully, I am not sure if she ever realized the impact she had on me but I do know that the bond we shared was mutual.

Growing up I was fortunate to have a very close relationship with my grandparents. My relationship with my grandparents is what gave me the itch to work in the field of geriatrics. My grandmother and I shared a very special bond and after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease it was very difficult for me to face the effects of the disease on a personal level.