Experts suggest that more than 5.5 million Americans, most of them age 65 or older, may have dementia caused by Alzheimer’s. As this disease progresses, people experience greater memory loss, greater cognitive difficulties, and physical and mental decline.
While there is no known cure at present, research suggests that a nutritious diet, physical activity, social engagement and mental stimulation, pursuits associated with helping people stay healthy in general, may also prove helpful in reducing the risk of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s related disease as well.
This fascinating video demonstrates the relationship of two endearing young children with one remarkably positive, realistic older adult. Here’s a transcript of their interactions:
Miriam: You told me your name, but I forgot it.
Crystal: It’s Crystal.
Miriam: I know, but I will forget it. (laughs)
Girl: Justin, you go ahead.
Justin: Hi, I’m Justin.
Miriam: Hi, Justin, nice to meet you! My name is Miriam.
Miriam: Do you know how old I am?
Girl: Uh, 28?
Miriam: Oh, 28, oh, I wish! How old do you think I am?
Justin: Uh, 80?
Miriam: Oh. (laughs) From 28 to 80?
Crystal: What do you do at home?
Miriam: Well, I’m retired, but I used to be a lawyer. About seven years ago, I began to forget things.
Boy: I forget, like, everything.
Miriam: You forget everything? Oh, my. I’ve got Alzheimer’s. Have you heard of Alzheimer’s?
Miriam: Alzheimer’s is a disease.
Justin: Is it contagious?
Justin: Can you die from it?
Miriam: Yes, what’s happening in my brain is that my brain cells are dying. Do you know what genetics is? It’s like, it’s your genes, you know, and so, um, I forgot where I was going. Genetics, I forgot what I was going to say. Oh, what’s that, it’s that thing that goes around eating things?
Crystal: Oh, you mean Pac-Man?
Miriam: Pac-Man, yes. Well, there’s a Pac-Man in my brain, going around eating my brain. (laughs) Yeah! And there’s nothing right now that can stop it.
Crystal: Maybe you could just create a ghost in your brain, and then eat Pac-Man and go bye-bye, and then the ghost goes away.
Miriam: Sure, absolutely, why not? (laughs) Do you ever forget things?
Boy: When I put the remote down and go to get something, when I come back in the room, I forgot where the remote was.
Boy: Have to search the entire room.
Crystal: My dad is kinda like that, when my mom asks him to do something, he doesn’t do it. Every single time, and he always says, “I forgot, I forgot, I forgot. I forgot, I forgot, I forgot.”
Crystal: “I forgot, I forgot, I forgot.”
Miriam: What else do you forget?
Boy: How old I am, sometimes I think I’m six.
Miriam: Uh-huh. I create a system. I’ve got a Google calendar on my laptop, and on my cell phone. My calendar is basically substituting for my brain because my brain isn’t working. Have you heard, you know what Alzheimer’s is?
Crystal: Yeah, you said that earlier.
Miriam: Ah, yes. (laughs)
Crystal: It’s okay. It’s okay.
Miriam: You know, I’m 70 years old, but I’m becoming…
Girl: Wait, you’re old?
Miriam: I’m, yeah, but I’m going to be becoming a baby because I’m going to forget how to eat, I’m going to forget how to do things. A couple of days ago, I didn’t know where I was. It took like five minutes for me to figure out where I was in my apartment. What would you do if you got lost?
Justin: There’s a trail right by our house.
Girl: That trail could go anywhere, Justin. No!
Justin: And what happens If he goes along to the trail, I don’t go onto the trail.
Girl: No, not follow the trail. – If there was two!
Justin: I would just… pass our neighbor’s house. Then a left…
Miriam: Okay, okay. Okay, I’m confused. (laughing)
Girl: Whoa, whoa, whoa, I would just rest.
Miriam: I am totally confused. Okay, um, what was I saying? You know what’s happening with me right now? It’s called sundowning.
And sundowning is when somebody who’s got Alzheimer’s has a difficult time remembering and following, and so that’s what’s happening to me right now.
Girl: Does someone take care of you?
Meriam: No, no. I live alone. But I’ve got a lot of friends who check up on me.
Crystal: Yeah, me, too. I have such, so, so, so many friends, I can only remember a few of their names.
Miriam: Oh, I can’t remember names. Sometimes I get sad. But not often. I don’t know. But I try not to get upset because getting upset just makes it worse, and so… I have hope that there’s going to be a cure to stop Alzheimer’s. (laughs)
Miriam: Oh. (kisses) (child mumbling) Come here.
Narrator: Hello, guys. Thank you so much for watching. Don’t forget to hit the subscribe button, and go down to the description box, and there’s a link to our store. You should go buy some merchandise. Thanks. Buh-bye.
This is just one of a series of brief but insightful selected videos I am posting that dispel basic myths, spotlight simple pleasures, and demonstrate what is possible when we change our views on aging.
As you view each video, consider for yourself, how much society stands to gains when we switch our thinking from measuring people in terms of “years of value,” to “value in their years!”
Age discrimination impacts us all. Join me in making a difference now!