Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Parent Is Reluctant to Burden Daughter With Fears of Alzheimer's

DEAR ABBY: My mother and her mother died from complications of Alzheimer's. I think I've had a few episodes lately, although it may just be stress over some recent monetary problems.

I don't know whether I should mention this to my daughter, who lives in a different state and who has shouldered a lot of other responsibilities. One of my sons lives closer but, for several reasons, he is not the primary decision-maker if I am actually experiencing early signs of Alzheimer's.

I know if my daughter had a possible medical problem, I'd be very upset if she didn't let me know, even though I couldn't be of any significant use. Should I say something to her about these possible symptoms of Alzheimer's? Or should I tell her husband, who is wonderful, so he can keep abreast of a possible upcoming medical problem?

I have not consulted a physician because I think they may sometimes be too quick to prescribe meds, and so far, I am daily-medication-free. Where does one draw the line between being an alarmist and keeping loved ones in the loop? -- PROCEEDING WITH CAUTION

DEAR PROCEEDING: The first person you should discuss this with is your physician, so you can be evaluated and your fears possibly put to rest. If you do have Alzheimer's, your daughter and her husband should be told so you can all decide together what the next steps should be. As to being medicated, this is something you and your doctor should decide because although the medications cannot cure Alzheimer's, they can slow it down.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Health & Safety