Monday, February 13, 2012

"His Fans Hope He Can Keep the Lines Open"

I was watching CBS Sunday Morning and they did a vignette on Glen Campbell- his music and his struggle with Alzheimer's.  What a powerful testimony to Glen and his family!

I am always deeply saddened when I learn of yet another diagnosed case of Alzheimer's.  There are no "good" diseases, but Alzheimer's is insidious.  My Mother was diagnosed with it in 1998.  She passed away in 2007.

As I watched the segment on Glen Campbell.  I marvelled, at the power of music.  I also enjoyed listening to this talented man perform with the support of his family.

The Alzheimer's epidemic has been called the "Silver Tsunami".  According to the Alzheimer's Organization 5 million plus Americans have Alzheimer's today.  By 2050 that number is projected to increase to 16 million.  Right now 16 million Americans serve as caregivers, many are unpaid family members.  By 2050 the number of people in America is expected to rise in the neighborhood of 45 million.  Financially the outlook is even grimmer.  This year Alzheimer's will cost our nation $183 billion dollars.  By the year 2050 that cost will rise to $1 trillion dollars, bankrupting our health care system and countless families.

I recently read the blog Thirty Thousand Days, in one of the posts it said that a small tweak can create a big shift.  Shortly after that I read some work by Dr Gary Small in both the Readers Digest and care ADvantage publication.  The Dec 2011/Jan 201 Reader's Digest quoted Dr Small as saying,

"If everyone in the United States added just one healthy habit, it might prevent or delay a million cases of Alzheimer’s disease that would otherwise be expected to occur over five years, says psychiatrist Gary Small, MD, director of the UCLA Longevity Center. "

That phrase resonated with me.  Even if the best case scenario was to postpone the onset of the disease - what a fabulous accomplishment that would be.   The Alzheimer's Organization has a petition to the President calling for a National Alzheimer's Plan.  I challenge you to join me in taking action, moving from fear and denial and investing in a solution.  Together we can make a big shift by taking small actions.
  • Take care of your brain 
  • Sign the petition

Thank You,
Ruth Ferris

The last line of CBS Sunday Morning's Glen Campbell segment summed up my feelings well. He was singing Wichita Lineman and the commentator said, "His fans hope he can keep the lines open a little longer."

Posts of Interest

Dr Oz - Alzheimer's: 5 Greatest Risk Factors

Readers Digest & Dr Gary Small 

Alzheimer's Foundation 

care ADvantage publication


  1. Ruth,
    The way you wove through different modes of writing (narrative, informational, and opinion) was beautiful. They came together to persuade and inspire action. Thanks for taking the time to craft this with love and care. I think writing things that matter can be moved to the top of the list of good things to do for your brain.

  2. Thank you. My mom had always been active and ate healthy. Yet it still got her. Yet based on my research I believe had she not it would have been earlier and more severe. Out of 4 kids. My Mom, my aunt and one of the boys all developed Alzheimer's. Thankfully my Uncle Norman has not.

    I think writing is a very healthy brain thing to do! Here are to all the books yet to be written!

  3. It is so important Ruth, & I appreciate all the links of information. My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease 3 years ago & has lost some cognitive abilities through what is called Lewy body dementia. It's similar to Alzheimer's & we take each day as a blessing. I'm sorry about your mother; I have one aunt who is now in a care facility because of Alzheimer's-very sad to see her failing. I will look up the petition and sign it-didn't know about it! Happy Valentine's Day!

  4. Linda,

    I am sorry to here that your husband has Parkinson's. I have read a little about it when researching dementias. My husband's ex-father-in-law has it. At times I feel so helpless when I see what all needs to be done so these diseases can be halted. They devastate families. Here is to a healthy future! Here is to the wisdom of living day-to-day and living in the moment.

  5. My mother-in-law passed away almost five years ago from Alzheimer's. It is a horrible disease, that takes the mind of the loved one far faster than it takes the body. This is a thoughtful post, that I hope others read and pay attention to! Thanks for the link to the petition!

  6. Deb,
    It is a disease that steals the memories. Dr Oz had Dr Gary Small talk about Alzheimer's and his new book in January. There is no cure but I for one am ready to try some of the health choices that may help prevent it.

    I am over weight and exercise is not an activity that I am partial to. But after listening to Dr Small I realize I need to rethink that attitude.

    Very few things scare me. But the threat of Alzheimer's and the accompanying dementia terrifies me.

    I was proactive when I cared for my Mom. Many of the things I tried is now being researched and the anecdotal records support the use of many holistic products.

    Here is to the families who are battling illness. Here is to hope.

  7. My mom was recently diagnosed with early stages. Your piece was a reflective call to action. I read the Reader's Digest article has been very difficult for my family and especially my father. He doesn't want my mom to know about the diagnosis.

  8. Each family is different. Contact your local Alzheimer's 0rganization. You can ask lots of questions and here how other families have dealt with problems. There is lots of support groups real life and online. When I began I felt so alone. careAdvantage is a free publication online and in hard copy, quarterly -excellant resource.

    My first blog that I havent kept up is about Alzheimers and caregiving.

  9. Timely and informative post Ruth. My mother-in-law has the disease. It was her diagnosis that jolted my husband and I to make some changes.

  10. If I could I would send a virtual hug to everyone who is watching a loved one struggle with disease and illness. I would send you love and strength. I would remind you that you are doing important work.


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