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Early Onset Dementia Alberta: EODA.CA

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Lawrence and Karen – Lawrence was diagnosed of Early Onset Alzheimers in April 2011 at the age 63 after going downstairs to hang himself. He knew there was a problem. I first had concerns in 2005 and Lawrence did go to the doctor to be assessed for Alzheimers disease. Although his test scores were very low, he was told “not to worry, there are no concerns with your memory”. At my insistence, he was referred to a few neurologists and the reply was that he would not be seen because he was too young, he needed to be 70 or more. Lawrence was still suicidal. He was placed in Red Deer Psychiatric ward several times and referred to Foothills Medical Centre where the diagnosis was made. In February 2011, through a referral by the Red Deer Hospital to our local Health Care Unit, Laurence was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimers. After this visit and many more phone calls, it was finally decided in February 2012 that I required relief. I was initially provided 3 hours every Tuesday and then expanded to another 2 hours on Thursday mornings in the fall of 2012. I also pushed and was able to have Lawrence, referred and enrolled, in the Adult Day Program in Red Deer on Fridays from the summer of 2012. He was suicidal, paranoid and only slept 4 hours a night. When my health declined the Health Care Unit rightly decided it was a crisis situation and Lawrence was placed in Northcott, Ponoka. One hour away. He was there four months, finally coming to Sunset Manor in Innisfail in August. They were not equipped to look after him as he was up most nights walking and confrontational. Most of their clients and Northcott’s were in wheelchairs and much older than Lawrence. He was removed from there twice, being placed finally in Centennial Mental Health and Brain Injury Center in Ponoka in December 2013 where he is now.

Issues: Difficulty in obtaining a diagnosis, being referred to several medical facilities, the inability to find appropriate placement and limited home care support compounded the already emotional, stressful road we were on.

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