Betsy Brooks remembers her father, Charles, as a "razor-sharp" former Marine. The two had their share of arguments, she says. But that all changed late in her father's life, as Betsy recently told her boyfriend, John Grecsek.
Charles was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease when he was 78. Betsy tells John about her relationship with her dad before, and after, the diagnosis.
"We butted heads from the moment we could," Betsy says.
The definition of Alzheimer's disease just got wider and deeper, but the expansion won't change how the vast majority of people are diagnosed. It also doesn't change the very limited treatment choices.
But the new criteria, which were developed by the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association, are almost guaranteed to prompt confusion, even in people who are thinking quite clearly.
Everybody over a certain age — say, around 50 — has these moments: The car keys go missing. They can't retrieve a once-familiar name. They stride into a room with purpose and then forget why.
Phyllis Hersch knows about those lapses.
"I go to the store and do five errands and miss the most important one because I've gotten distracted by something else," says Hersh, who just turned 70. Recently she alarmed herself by leaving her car in the garage with the motor running at her home in Massachusetts.