Early onset Alzheimer’s is a condition true to its name, 45-year-old Texas dad Matt Oliver will tell you.
The former Army veteran and military contractor first began experiencing symptoms in his 30s, Men’s Health reported. Fast forward to the present day and the father of three cannot drive, has difficulty speaking and he struggles with his speech, memory and simple tasks.
While Alzheimer’s is most prevalent among the elderly, it is not uncommon to occur in people under the age of 65.
According to The Alzheimer’s Association, about 200,000 people in the U.S. have early onset but, because of their age, getting an accurate diagnosis can be long and frustrating as symptoms are often incorrectly attributed to stress or other conditions.
It is not clear what causes early onset Alzheimer’s however, for some it can be tied to genetic mutation. This is called early onset familial Alzheimer’s and is what Oliver suffers from.
“This is very different than what you would call traditional Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Nikhil Palekar, medical director of the Stony Brook Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease, told Men’s Health, explaining that people diagnosed with the condition have a specific gene mutation.
In Oliver’s case, he lost his mother, brother, and sister to early onset Alzheimer’s disease and then, at 41, he was diagnosed as well.
His partner and full-time caretaker Traci Ward said the symptoms were getting worse and so she has set about raising funds to help get him to Germany to visit his son before it is too late.
“I am raising this money for him because his wish is to go to Germany to spend time with his son that he loves more than life itself,” Ward said through the YouCaring fundraising page.
“He also wants to travel to New York to spend time with his family there while he still can. If possible to mark a few items off his bucket list. Time is of the essence now for him to still be able to do these things.”
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