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How to cope when a loved one has Alzheimer’s and a second serious disease

Dear Carol: My mom was recently diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). She has mid-to late stage Alzheimer’s disease. Mom saw several doctors, but it took a long time to diagnose her ALS. Meanwhile she’s lost most of her muscle control and can scarcely communicate. I know there are devices and medical interventions to help people with ALS, but because of her dementia, it's hard to convince her of the need to have treatment or use helpful devices. She doesn’t really understand what's going on. Maybe it will be a blessing in the end if her mind is not totally clear. The doctor says she only has a couple of months to live, but I get scared when I think about her life ending this way.  - Sam

Dear Sam: I’ve witnessed ALS

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