South Florida woman shares story of early Alzheimer’s diagnosis

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Most of us consider Alzheimer’s disease something that happens to older people but a growing number of younger men and women, in their 60′s and even 50′s, are now being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

That’s why, more than ever, the push is on to find treatments to slow down or even stop this insidious disease.

Melinda Wolf has been physically fit her whole life but last year, on a family vacation, she began to worry about her brain health.

“I remember waking up, thinking ‘Oh my God, oh my God we’re late for the tournament.’ I freaked out. I said ‘Oh, we are at Disney World’ but I had no idea where I was and it scared me,” she said.

This busy wife and mother thought her confusion and memory loss were symptoms of menopause but after extensive testing, Wolf was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

She was just 52 years old.

“That’s the first thing that went through my mind when I was diagnosed with it is my children and my husband and how it would impact them,” she said.

Instead of feeling sorry for herself Wolf began to fight.

Several days a week, she comes here to Fit Factor, a Fort Lauderdale gym where the focus is on the mind-body connection.

Personal trainer Paulo Andalaft puts Wolf through a series of exercises to strengthen her body and sharpen her mind.

“It’s hard for me to determine where I am at, but I feel like I’m in a good place,” Wolf said.

And that’s why she wants to share her story because two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients are women and early diagnosis is key to a better prognosis.

Wolf believes researchers are closer than ever to finding a cure so that she’ll be right here to see her children get married and have kids of their own.

“Life isn’t easy, but if you put on the lenses, I’m not telling you to ignore everything, but focus on the positive in your life and if you focus on the positive in your life, you are going to see happiness,” she said.

Wolf and her family will be joining Local10′s Kristi Krueger and her family at the Broward Walk to End Alzheimer’s Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023.

Krueger will be emceeing the event and is leading a team in memory of her father Phil Krueger who died from the disease.

Already, teams and sponsors have raised almost 440-thousand dollars to help fund vital research into therapies to slow down or even stop this disease.

To learn more about supporting the effort, click on this link.

About the Authors:

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.