Apr 242013
 
Hope and Resolve on Capitol Hill: The Voice of an Alzheimer's Advocate

Alzheimer’s disease has been the greatest heartbreak of my life.  I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s disease. And then, my father. I tell their story, because they can’t.  I tell their story in hopes that future generations will not have the same story to tell. Today, I am surrounded by fellow advocates at the 25th annual Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum – my thirteenth. We are the voice of many, with one message:  The time to [...]

Apr 172013
 
This Is Our Life – And Alzheimer's Isn't Keeping Us From Living It

“This Is Our Life” is the final line of a production entitled “Resurrection” that my husband Steve and I have been a part of with our church singing group for the past 17 years. During the last song, everyone in the congregation holds a candle that is lit from a single candle that stands alone on the altar. As each candle is lit, we watch the church go from dark to light. The first year we performed, a small group of us got together and pitched in—sewing costumes, rehearsing and doing whatever [...]

Jan 182013
 
Dear Abby A Voice For People Facing Alzheimer's Long Before Own Diagnosis

Pauline Phillips, the woman you probably all know as Dear Abby and who wrote under the name Abigail Van Buren, was never afraid to bring tough topics into public discussion. Alzheimer’s disease was no exception. In 1980, long before her own diagnosis with this devastating disease, she brought dementia into the spotlight when she published a letter from a woman who had recently learned her 60-year-old husband had Alzheimer’s. The woman, who signed her letter [...]

Dec 172012
 
Embracing the Holiday Season with Alzheimer’s

Ah, it’s that most wonderful time of the year. The store shelves are groaning gentle reader, from the weight of merchandise placed on those shelves and the skinny arms which hold them up. Stores are crowded with more racks of clothing and the people, ah yes the people, loaded down with stuff over-flowing from their carts, picking out things for those who are naughty and nice. After all it is the season for forgiveness.   [...]

Oct 292012
 
My Life with Alzheimer’s and the Gift of My Friend Jean

I always say, if you’ve met one person with Alzheimer’s—then you’ve met one person with Alzheimer’s. Many people don’t realize how each individual has a unique experience with the disease—unique symptoms, a unique path to diagnosis and unique needs. November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregiver Month, and as a member of the Alzheimer’s Association National Early-Stage Advisory Group, I’m proud to share my story to help raise awareness of disease [...]

Sep 212012
 
The Realities of Alzheimer's and Overcoming Stigma

 A Note from Michael: I would love to thank each one of you for the wonderful comments I received from my article.  As an advocate, it can be challenging to measure the ways in which my story is received by others. Seeing all of this positive feedback has given me a boost to continue writing and raising awareness for the millions of American’s affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Since receiving my diagnosis, I have had the [...]

Sep 182012
 
Going Purple for Poppy

To support causes near to her heart, jewelry designer Holly Freeman started a line of limited edition pieces with friend and actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler.  In honor of World Alzheimer’s Month, the two philanthropists designed a purple bracelet. Proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Association.  Alzheimer’s has touched so many.  I know firsthand.  My grandfather was an incredibly talented artist. His works spanned from beautiful flowers and landscapes, to drawings of my favorite cartoon characters he made [...]

Sep 052012
 
To Fight Stigma, I Speak Up

I was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2009 at the age of 56. Prior to my diagnosis, I was the senior vice president of operations for M&T Bank, overseeing hundreds of employees across the Maryland and Delaware regions. I still run into those people — former employees or co-workers — at the grocery store or out at restaurants. I remember faces, but not always their names. Often, I notice that people make eye contact [...]

Aug 302012
 
Breaking Past Stigma & Finding Hope: Rob Epp's Story

Courage is the thing you need most and the hardest thing to get when you’re faced with Alzheimer’s Disease. Jordan, my partner of 17 years has younger-onset Alzheimer’s. His father and several grandparents had memory problems, so the diagnosis was not totally unexpected, but it is still hard to grasp that someone so young and vital is facing such a ravaging illness. Since Jordan’s diagnosis four years ago, we’ve both experienced the stigma that is [...]

Aug 302012
 
A Caregiver's Perspective on Stigma and Alzheimer’s

We spoke with Shirley Sillman, wife and caregiver of Bob Sillman, who was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s in 2007. Have you noticed stigma or jokes about Alzheimer’s in pop culture? Of course.  But we (society) tend to mask our fears and misunderstanding though humor.  I do it every day.  If I didn’t joke or laugh about it — especially with Bob — I would probably be a wreck.  Do jokes marginalize and ultimately stigmatize the [...]

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