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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla — You wouldn’t know by looking at Ron Grant or talking to him but he is a nine year survivor of Alzheimer’s disease — diagnosed at just 55 years old.

He now plays video games to help keep his mind sharp. Grant said, “I have learned that you can beat it every time.”

Grant’s journey with Alzheimer’s began with forgetfulness. He had attended an event with his daughter and family, but had no recollection of it. According to Grant, “I said, ‘wait a minute, I wasn’t there’. She looked at me real funny and said, ‘daddy you were there.”

Grant says he wasn’t normally forgetful and never had trouble remembering things in the past.

But memory loss, especially when it disrupts daily life, is one of the signs of Alzheimer’s.

Grant was concerned enough to see his doctor. A scan of grant’s brain confirmed his fears. He told us, “The radio neurologist that reads it, they went through it frame by frame together, and their conclusion was that the damage they saw was consistent with early Alzheimer’s disease.”

Devastated by the diagnosis, the family turned to the Alzheimer’s Association for help. One of their big concerns — what to do about Grant’s long term care.

Carla Scull is there to answer those questions. She travels around Oklahoma educating families about Alzheimer’s.

Along with memory loss, confusion with time or place is another red flag.

Also, new problems with words in speaking or writing. That could mean having trouble following a conversation or struggling with vocabulary.

Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps are all reasons to talk to your doctor.

Scull’s main message — early diagnosis is key. “So that the person with the disease can be part of their future planning, so that they can get their financial and medical affairs in order, so they can be part of what they know will eventually happen.”

For Grant, there is peace in having the power to live life to the fullest on his terms.
Grant said, “There is no cure. There is no treatment that stops the disease, or stops the progression. Well, you need to know what you’re facing so you can prepare yourself, your family, and your circumstances.”

Each day, a gift and another chance to treasure what he holds dear.