Women Who Inspire: Joan Uronis
Life doesn’t end with Alzheimer’s. It’s the beginning of a new one.
Joan Uronis was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease in June 2011 at the age of 62.
Joan graduated from Lake Erie College in 1997 with a bachelor of arts in health care administration. She also received a certificate in gerontology from Ohio State University and a certificate in ministry of consolation from the Catholic Cleveland Diocese. Prior to her diagnosis, Joan held positions as the executive director of assisted living and general manager of hospice.
Joan first noticed memory loss in her late 50s. As a caregiver for her mother with Alzheimer’s, Joan knew that something was wrong when she began to experience extreme fatigue, difficulty with work-related tasks and one particular incident in which she became lost driving to a familiar location. Joan visited a neurologist when she was 60 and was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Her doctor warned her that the diagnosis was a possible precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.
Two years later, Joan underwent a neuropsychological evaluation and a PET scan at the Cleveland Clinic. The results indicated that she had younger-onset Alzheimer’s. Because Alzheimer’s disease runs in her family, Joan’s doctor ordered DNA testing, which came back negative. Joan’s doctor confirmed her diagnosis over the phone rather than in person, which has inspired Joan to advocate for more physician education around Alzheimer’s.
Joan Uronis is a member of the Alzheimer’s Association national Board of Directors and served as an Early-Stage Advisory Group member from 2012-2013.