Sunday, October 09, 2011

ALZ: Out of the Closet

Alzheimer's disease, once a secret families tried to hide, is now out of the closet and onto the public plazas and streets.

With noisy pride, caregivers and families and friends of persons with this disease walked under a sunny sky today on Avenue of the Stars in Century City, raising money and awareness.

Among the 3-4,000 people, I found my friend Marnie Reid from Sunrise of Santa Monica and joined her contingent of about ten. Marnie was one of the kindest, most dedicated and perceptive persons caring for my mother while she was in the Reminiscence Neighborhood at Sunrise.

Families walked, all wearing t-shirts with the name or photo of a loved one who had died of Alzheimer's.

I was walking for my mother--but also for myself.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Walk to end Alzheimer's

About 3,000 people are expected Sunday in Century City (Los Angeles) for this year's Alzheimer's Walk. It begins at 8:30 in Century City Park.

There are other walks all over the country... Sept. 21 was National Alzheimer's Awareness Day.

You can either walk or just make a donation by using the link attached to the title of this post.

See also

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Beauty at Ninety

I visited a friend's mother at Regents Point in Irvine.

Beauty everywhere... in the faces and flowers.

Her mother is 90 years old and in hospice care but still gracious and a pleasure to talk with. She even laughed deeply at one of my jokes!

At one point, mother-like, she asked "Aren't you chilly?" and I realized, yes, I was. I put on a sweater.

At her mother's nintieth birthday party last June, my friend made t-shirts with photos of her at various points in her life. Children and grandchildren each wore a t-shirt of her at the same age each is now... or of him or herself as a child with her.

From the perspective of life at its busiest, this beautiful woman's life is now much diminished, but from another viewpoint, there is still quality of life.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ronald Reagan & Alzheimer's Disease

In Ron Reagan's memoir, My Father at 100, he notes that Alzheimer's Disease changes in the brain can be found years and even decades before the first symptoms are noted.

"The questions, then, of whether my father suffered from the beginning stages of Alzheimer's while in office more or less answers itself," he admits. 

In a review of the younger Reagan's book, Dr. Lawrence K. Altman observes the following mileposts in the president's life:

*  His mother, Nelle, had died of "senility."

*  At age 69 in 1980, he became the oldest man elected to the presidency of the US, serving eight years.

*  In 1989 at age 78 he fell from a horse in Mexico and "his doctors detected probable signs of Alzheimer's in removing a blood clot that formed between his skill and brain."

*  In 1990 he began taking annual mental-status tests, which at first showed no signs of memory loss.

*  These tests first showed evidence of AD in the summer of 1993, when he was 82 years old.

*  In 1994, the former president wrote his open letter to the American public disclosing his illness.

*  He died at age 93 on June 5, 2004.  As is typical of the disease, he had been unable to eat or drink, and his kidneys failed.