The patient shows classic symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease, with difficulties in at least two cognitive domains that are severe enough to influence daily living. The patient has very little insight into her problems. [In contrast,] normal aging changes are usually noticed more by the patient than by family members.
Reading this vignette, I had an immediate flashback to all of the geriatric patients I’ve seen over the last few months. Of all of the journeys in life, watching your lifetime partner, your rock, slowly erode into someone else is beyond words. Knowing, as the more sentient partner usually does, that it won’t get easier, has to be crushing. There’s little that we can offer these patients other than our patience, empathy and kindness.