Living with early onset Alzheimer’s

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 7:11 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The Alzheimer’s Association is revealing new insights from people living with early-stage dementia about what they wish others knew about living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia.

“I just couldn’t process washing my hair. I knew I had to wash my hair. I knew that man, my hair would be clean. I just couldn’t process how to do it,” said Kanada Yazbek.

That is when Yazbek knew something was wrong.

She made an appointment with her doctor and at 48 years old, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

It’s something she is all too familiar with. Six people in her family have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and a seventh family member diagnosed with dementia.

Now, she is working with the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota- North Dakota chapter to share six things people should know about Alzheimer’s and other dementia.

  • First: If you want to know how I am doing, just ask me.
  • Second: Yes, younger people can have dementia
  • Third: My Alzheimer’s diagnosis does not define me.

“My social life is different because sometimes if I’m tired or I’m having a bad day or I’m stressed my like sentence structure and you know how I, its like forgetfulness and that kind of stuff will, my cognitive things will be harder for me,” said Yazbek. “It does change my life in a lot of ways. But I’m still me.”

On the list of things Kanada and others want people to know about Alzheimer’s and other dementia:

  • Please don’t debate my diagnosis or tell me I don’t look like I have Alzheimer’s.
  • Understand sometimes my words and actions are not me, it’s my disease.
  • An Alzheimer’s diagnosis does not mean my life is over.

“The disease is isolating enough and it’s confusing enough that it’s important to know that you don’t have to be alone,” said Yazbek. “There are people that feel like you do, or that have gone through what you’re going through that can help you navigate it.”

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