After 32 years as a nurse, Cathy Mahserjien's job performance started to become questionable. Her husband also noticed changes at home.
"I started noticing she was getting a little forgetful with our kids sports schedule. Who's game is tonight or who am I picking up from practice?" George Mahserjien said. "She said she was having problems with numbers at work, that is when her nurse manager had told her to see a neurologist."
At age 52, Cathy's diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease was a shock. On average, people go two years before they seek professional help. Some experts say there's a stigma with the disease, in addition to the lack of acknowledgement that there's been changes.
"You need people that are proactive, that are observing changes to get people to jump in there and get to their neurologist and have that thorough evaluation," Beth Boivin, Alzeheimer's Association CEO, said.
Misplacing your keys or cell phone is not a reason to be concerned. Memory lapses are.
"People have difficulty making new memories and that is the hallmark of the disease. So many people will come and say my mother remembers what happened 40 years ago perfectly, but she doesn't remember what happened this morning," Boivin said.
Cathy is no longer working, but because she was diagnosed early the prognosis is better. She's taking medication and is in a clinical trial with the hope of stopping the disease all together.
"I feel better than I have felt in a long time and take every day, day to day," Cathy said.
George added, "That is all we have, is hope. I just told her, I said, 'We're going to be together through this and battle it with dignity and do what we need to do.'"