Inside Out 51: Helping Those with Alzheimer's

02.16.11 | Martha Manikas-Foster

In a tender February 6, 2011 essay in Time Magazine, Ronald Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis described the essential core of her father that remained after Alzheimer's disease had "...clawed away years, possibilities, hopes." I am drawn to this essay, I think, because it parallels life with my husband’s mother. Though she cannot remember ever living anywhere other than the apartment she and Dad Foster moved into last year, and though I hold my breath as she fumbles for the names of people not in the room with us, she is--at her core—the woman she has always been: an embodiment of grace. Smiling broadly when we walk in the door, delighted by each act of kindness, and concerned for us on our every journey home—there is no mistaking that the woman hugging me with all her might is Retired Salvation Army officer Major M. Arena Foster.

My husband and I have learned about Alzheimer’s Disease in a blind and stumbling way; I recommend better preparation. In the United States today, Alzheimer’s Disease has laid its wasting hand on five million people.  With the first of the Baby Boomers turning 65 this year, estimates are that by mid-century 13.4 million people will have the disease. I’m told by David Midland, President and CEO of the Rochester, NY chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, that for every person diagnosed with the disease, there are three caregivers who feel the impact of this, the most common form of dementia.

Why not join David Midland and me in this podcast as we talk about Alzheimer's Disease? We discuss best practices for preventing it, resources for learning about it, and reasons the church would be wise to prepare for the growing number of people who will be wrestling with it.

You can find information on treatment and hope, as well as a connection to free resources, at the Rochester, NY chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association’s website. The phone number is 800-272-3900.

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Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.

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