Doreen and Dean - My wife Doreen was 54 years old when I realized 'something wasn't right' with her cognitive state. Because she was under the age of 65, we were unable to obtain the services of a gerontologist. We did have access to AHS Mental Health Outreach Clinic in Red Deer but they also were unable to help us. After many years we eventually did get a GP onside and even with his influence, it took us 16 months to see the gerontologist. At that time, Doreen was 61 years of age and the symptoms of the disease had advanced to such a level that his exact words were "Your wife has Alzheimer's disease, do not come back and see me". Early Onset Dementia is a disease that, in most circumstances, advances extremely fast. With the stress that it put on me as the primary caregiver, I had a heart attack and other health issues. I honestly believe that my wife's quality of life was significantly less than it would have been, had we access to 'the system' in the earlier stages of the disease. Doreen passed away last year at age 66. I miss her. Her Grandchildren miss her.
Issues: Diagnosis, medical services and appropriate programs, appropriate care facilities.