Wednesday, January 23, 2008

167 study shows dementia lifespan=4.5 years

A study done in England shows that after diagnosis, those with dementia live an average of 4.5 years. That seems low to me. My dad was given 9-11 years, based on his young age, and lived 3.5. (I've also heard that if you are younger, it goes faster. So maybe no one really knows.)
I can't argue and scream and cry and say my dad got cheated out of a year--or 5, or more. Someone else's loved one gets that extra year, right? I've always believed that for every life cut short, those years go to someone who lives a long time. Heath Ledger, for instance, who died yesterday at 28, gave years to someone else, somewhere. Or so I believe. Maybe my dad's extra time will go to Terry Pratchett. I'd feel good about that.
An estimated 24 million people worldwide have the mental confusion marked by memory loss and problems with orientation that signals Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.....Women lived for 4.6 years compared to 4.1 years for men. There was nearly seven years difference in survival between the youngest and oldest, with people aged 65 to 69 living 10.7 years and those over 90 living 3.8 years, the researchers found.
So I guess the estimate of my dad living 9-11 years wasn't that far off after all.
And although I am sad that he's gone, his last months were miserable, and if he had lived another year as he was in October and November, it would have been joyless for him and for us, and cost my mother everything she owned.
Screenprint of article.


Mauigirl said...

It probably depends on how fast they go from stage to stage. My father went more quickly, although his symptoms didn't show up until he was about 89 and he died at 92. My mother-in-law started showing symptoms years ago but didn't become bad until the last year. Now I think she's in Stage 6, which, from remembering how my father was, probably gives her about a year more life to go. I just hope she can be as happy as she can during that year.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother is 85 and is definitely in early to mid stage Alzheimers or dementia (though we still cannot get her to a doc for a proper diagnosis.)

The idea of another 4 years of this terrifies me, as I know this will only get worse. As bad as it sounds, I would prefer she could speed through it, rather than just be the shell of a woman she once was.

Must say, I do like the idea of Terry Prachett perhaps getting your Dad's "extra" years.