Archive for Alzheimer’s

Caine Reveals Connery Has Alzheimers

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Connery - Caine

CORRECTION:

Since the story broke on Mail One two days ago, Sir Micheal Caine has come forth on the British Mirror News with a statement that he was misquoted about the condition of his good friend, Sean Connery, by German Newspaper, Bild. The full explanation can be found here: MIRROR NEWS. It is with great relief that I can post this correction as it now has perhaps a happy, or certainly happier, more hopeful continuation. DG

Time marches on, the old replaces the new. Sadly Double-O Seven has become Double-O I Can't Remember.

Across the internet, news organizations are starting to report on what was previously just rumored. Now the stories and coverage seem to be more than that. What's distressing is the horrific symptoms, the diminishing faculties of one of my all-time favorite actors, Sean Connery. And the reliable source of this face-slapping sobriety is none other than an equal favorite of mine, Michael Caine. I've got to believe this is true.

Mail Online

Screen legend Michael Caine says his best friend- 007 actor Sean Connery - is 'no longer in control of his senses' and fears he is in the grip of Alzheimer's.

In an interview with German newspaper Bild am sonntag Caine said: 'One must have serious concerns for him.'

Bild said the loss of his (Connery) memory is 'noticeable' and that only a few close friends and confidantes, like Caine, had access to him.

Individually they have been in amazing films, but their start together was in an entry on my top ten list of all-time great movies, THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING. This classic, directed by equally mesmerizing director, John Huston, marked the first time these gentlemen appeared together in a film. It was magic. They are and always will be Peachey and Danny.

Connery - Caine 2

Sadly Alzheimer Disease strikes so many, robbing them and us of the beautiful lives they've lived. Maybe Connery's membership in that tragic club will be an inspiration to all of us to  help and motivate both the scientists and researchers to march on with their experiments to find a cure. It will come too late for many, but hopefully save so many more in the future.

Let's not take the pressure off of our Congress to continue to fund medical research. And not just Alzheimer's. Cancer, heart disease, Parkinson's, and so many more. This isn't for the James Bonds or Danny Dravots. This is for our mothers, our brothers, or even ourselves someday. No one is above life's game of chance. Let's put the time and money into finding cures now -- not kicking it down the road while Congress debates phony budgets and anti-social legislation. We must keep the pressure on. People first.

If you by some chance are too young, or missed this most classic of Rudyard Kipling tales, then please have a taste with this trailer for the film, THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING. We all can be a king someday -- if we give a little of ourselves every day.

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Asking for help is okay. Needing help is okay. Getting help is okay. It's more than okay, it's a gift.

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book Stephen Goldstein alzheimer's

I have a Twitter pal, Stephen L. Goldstein (@DrSLGoldstein), who I got to know (on line) through my friend and radio host, Nicole Sandler. Stephen wrote a book, When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name: A Son's "Course" in "Rational" Caregiving:

"When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name: A Son's 'Course' in 'Rational' Caregiving should be the first book families read to prepare themselves for caring for aging relatives. It's a one-man support group, written like a friend who's "been-there-done-that," talking anecdotally, but authoritatively, to a friend who needs help. It is raw and gritty, as well as funny and inspiring--offering hope that one can overcome a mountain of seemingly insurmountable challenges, for which they likely feel devastatingly unprepared.Each brief, compelling, highly readable chapter tells how a son learned "on-the-job" to deal with different situations all caregivers face as his caregiving role evolved from nominal to 24/7. The book is packed with down-to-earth practical advice and tips to make caregiving manageable-even joyful. There's even a unique self-assessment guide so caregivers and potential caregivers can benchmark and enhance their ability to manage the often lonely, challenging, unpredictable, and overwhelming roles they may assume.

When he read my tweets about my mom having died after a 10+ year struggle with Alzheimer's, and now my mother-in-law suffering from the same horrible disease, he messaged me with a very flattering, and very challenging, DM: " You're a gifted communicator. Consider sharing your wisdom. Almost EVERYONE needs help sometime."

My immediate response was no way. No way am I up for another gut-wrenching post after the one I wrote about my dad's passing. No way can I muster up advice for others when I can barely deal with my own emotional state. No way do I feel qualified.

Then, about five minutes ago, I had a phone conversation with Mr. Laffy about his mom. Please move on to our next political post if this is not something you care to read, but I now feel compelled to share a few things with anyone who is in the same position we are... again.

Let me start by emphasizing that I am no expert on any of this. My dad was a superb doctor and caregiver for my mom, so I do have a sadly unwelcome and unexpected backlog of observations and experience to draw from. My grandmother also had dementia (likely Alzheimer's but we're not sure), and I cared for a close friend and writing partner who had a near-deadly brain aneurysm, as well as another very, very dear friend who nearly died in a car accident resulting in a severe, debilitating concussion (I did what I could from across the country).

Unfortunately, I'm accustomed to tending to people close to me who have had brain trauma of one kind or another.

So if you will once again indulge me, I offer the following basics for you to ignore or heed, whichever you feel inclined to do:

  • Do not wait to get help. Dementia progresses at different rates, but it sneaks up on you and progresses so quickly or erratically that once the disease (or stroke) reaches its more devastating stages, it suddenly becomes too difficult to handle alone. Scrambling around for assistance is scary and emotionally shattering, not to mention an enormous burden.
  • The patient needs to be watched constantly, stimulated, talked to as you would anyone (no condescension or baby talk), and not left alone. Ever.
  • The patient needs support, a lot of patience, attention, and care, not constant correction when they forget and make mistakes. They won't remember the corrections, and they may even feel belittled, more confused, scared, or even become resentful.

My father in law (Yes, that F.I.L.) is understandably frustrated because my mother in law is able to converse, but is at the "repeatedly asking the same questions over and over" stage. She refuses to leave the house, even for a doctor's appointment, a drive, a walk, a movie, or to get her hair done. She has (understandably) let herself go a little now, not grooming as meticulously as she once did. That's hard to watch.

They live in a lovely, smallish upscale house and have very little money to spare. We've strongly suggested that they sell the house and move to an assisted living complex, if possible. That's so difficult for F.I.L. to even contemplate, but it's a necessary step. Safety first.

Because what if... what if... F.I.L. falls down (my dad did several times) or has a heart attack or becomes even temporarily disabled by some other medical mishap or emergency? M.I.L. would probably not know how to call us or anyone else any more, or remember to even if she could. She would be virtually helpless and alone. And that is not only heartbreaking, it is dangerous.

It becomes so important to think ahead, to plan, to not be afraid to C.Y.A., to assume the worst could happen, because it sometimes does. I can't begin to tell you what a relief it was to have the Neptune Society do their thing so sensitively and efficiently when my dad died. My parents planned for that way back in... the 1970s.

I also can't being to tell you what a relief it was that @AliKat747 convinced me-- educated me-- that hospice care begins well before the "very end." Two hospice nurses regularly visited my dad at home for medical checks, weekly at first, then more often as he needed them. They provided support, medical care, supplies, prescriptions, a hospital bed, you name it. And Medicare covered all of it.

Not privatized Medicare... "Big Government" Medicare. Are you listening, conservatives?

Foresight, forethought, planning, thinking rationally-- when you'd rather curl up and hide or shake and scream or cry or deny-- all of these are mandatory so that you can breathe a little when the worst does finally happen, or even begins to unfold. Before the real nightmare begins, take steps to preemptively disarm it.

Keith Olbermann convinced me to get my dad's end-of-life documents in order well in advance. So we did; we organized all my dad's finances two-plus years ago and assumed control of it in time for him to approve while he could still make rational decisions and understand clearly what was happening.

Major point: Asking for help is okay. Needing help is okay. Getting help is okay. It's more than okay, it's a gift. So please, if anything like this happens to your family or friends, if our situation reminds you in the least of your own, resist procrastinating. Don't allow yourself to flounder when you can take a tiny bit of control, the only control you'll really have, over a devastating situation.

Trust me when I say, you will feel more comfortable, reassured, secure, soothed, and able to deal. It's tough enough when you're overwhelmed by all the stress and pain and trauma and feelings of helplessness and confusion that come with tragedy. By making as many arrangements in advance as possible, it not only allows you a little space to cope, it allows you more peace of mind.

I hope some of this helps, and I hope F.I.L. can take advantage of our experience and apply them to his own.

And thank you Stephen Goldstein for sending a copy of your book for F.I.L.

I didn't even need to ask, you helped us all on your own.

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Video- Michele Bachmann: If We Cared, We'd Cure Alzheimer's Disease In Ten Years

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I actually watched this, and if you didn't know better you'd think Democrats were the ones nixing money for scientific research. Funny how that works. Via RWW.

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Supreme Court allows stem-cell research to proceed over objections of abortion-rights opponents

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stem cell research cartoon via myspew dot com

Via myspew.com

 Via

Thank you for this one, Supremes. My mother died from Alzheimer's, as did my grandmother and great grandmother, so this one hits home. Aside from a promising compound that restores memory loss and reverses symptoms of Alzheimer's in mice, we still need to explore every option and avenue available to us.

Via The Hill:

The Supreme Court will not review a challenge to federal funding of human embryonic stem-cell research, allowing the controversial studies to proceed.

The justices on Monday rejected an appeal from two scientists who said stem-cell research violates federal law banning the creation and destruction of human embryos for scientific purposes.

The decision is a boon to supporters of stem-cell research, who believe it will yield treatments and cures for diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. [...]

In their ruling, appellate judges acknowledged ambiguity in laws governing stem-cell research, but ultimately deferred to the National Institutes of Health, which supports the studies.

Of course, the same people who equate stem cell research with murder are also the same people who are against legal abortions that save the lives of women whose suffer from life-threatening pregnancy complications. Those who equate blastocysts (cell clusters) and zygotes (single cells) with the already-born, living, and breathing might want to review this:

abortion rights choice

They also might want to remember that the in vitro fertilization process helps couples struggling with fertility to conceive. Unused embryos are eventually discarded, which, of course, they oppose. What would they propose doing with them? Isn't providing the opportunity to bring a life into the world their whole raison d'etre?

And how ironic that their candidate, Willard Mitt Romney, invested in a company that disposed of aborted fetuses from family planning clinics. But I digress.

Stem cells will be used to save, improve, and prolong lives. When will the so-called "pro lifers" finally figure out that stem cell research is one of the most pro-life endeavors there is?

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VIDEO- Pat Robertson to man with Alzheimers-stricken wife: Divorce her.

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Hey Pat, if you start with, "I know it sounds cruel..."-- it is.

And to hell with those pesky marriage vows, right? They only matter if icky gay people want to take them.

"Holy" matrimony? Feh:

"Gone! They're gone! They are gone!"... as you should be, ex-Baptist minister Robertson.

It wouldn't surprise me if he was at home applauding along with the "pro-life" teabate crowd.

Memo to Pat Robertson (who, by the way, was so holier-than-thou wholesome that he censored the words "toilet paper" in a run of 150 squeaky clean jokes I had to write for a ventriloquist and his space alien dummy while working for this s.o.b. at The Family Channel):

My mother died of Alzheimer's, and my dad nearly did himself in caring for her well into his mid-eighties because he was that devoted to her. See, my father had what's called a heart, Pat, compassion. Or as you like to call it, a burden.

Pat Robertson: Insensitive asshole Hypocridiot-O'-The-Day.

Via Alan Colmes.

H/t: @GregOstravich

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Lesley Stahl backs up Ron Jr's worries about Reagan's early Alzheimer's symptoms

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Chilling. I find it amusing that Michael is so busy disputing the slightest possiblity of there being a problem that early, while in the same breathe saying "I saw my father on and off and I never saw anything that looked like that."

…Reagan didn't seem to know who I was. He gave me a distant look with those milky eyes and shook my hand weakly. Oh, my, he's gonzo, I thought. I have to go out on the lawn tonight and tell my countrymen that the president of the United States is a doddering space cadet. My heart began to hammer with the import...I was aware of the delicacy with which I would have to write my script. But I was quite sure of my diagnosis.

(snip)

After Stahl mentioned that her husband, Aaron Latham, was a screenwriter, Reagan became animated, and pulled Latham to a couch to discuss a movie idea he had for a film in which he could star. Stahl recalls she was "too astonished to move." A few minutes later, the session was over. Reagan was now beaming, and after Stahl and her family left the Oval Office, Reagan chased after them and told her daughter, "I worked for your mother, too."

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