Radically transformed by Alzheimer’s, in just four years

Patricia Gilbert learned that she had Alzheimer’s when she was only 47 years old. Little affected by the disease and full of energy, she had agreed to speak about this very early diagnosis to the journalist Harold Gagné about four years ago.

• Read also: Living with Alzheimer’s at 47

She said that younger people with the disease refused to talk about it, but she wanted to.

“I want to remove this taboo. It is not a dishonor. It’s a disease, ”she explained with great candor at the time.

Since then, the disease has completely transformed Patricia Gilbert, who is now 51 years old. Although she had kept regular contact with journalist Harold Gagné, with whom she spoke on the phone, she did not recognize him when they last met.

Her working husband, Normand, gave up his job to look after his wife full time.

The past few weeks have been particularly difficult for Patricia and her partner due to the adjustment of a medication. Patricia had a lot of anxiety, slept little, just like her husband.

The CLSC provides them with about eight hours of help per week, but the couple would like more, given Patricia’s fragile health.

A recently released federal government policy document indicates that caregivers of someone with dementia are twice as likely to need psychological help.

Patricia’s husband admits it: “It’s hard psychologically, because, the person you love him. It looks like you can see quietly that you are losing this person. The body cuts off access to that person, to go to his heart, ”he says.

What helps Normand is that the couple’s neighbor, who lives in Saint-Anselme, Quebec, comes to pick up Patricia to take a 45-minute walk every day.

“We take advantage of the walk, she sometimes tells me: ‘Oh, my Alzheimer’s …” I said to her: “Look, we are lucky, we can walk,” “explains Huguette Bolduc.

Even though it gets harder and harder, Norman hopes to stay with Patricia as long as possible.

“Want, don’t want, the person, you love him, eh?” There, you see quietly that you lose this person. The body cuts off access to his heart, to his soul. You know, dreams of being cured, they subside. It looks like she no longer believes in it, ”he concludes.


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