Alzheimer’s Disease: Why I Joined the Fight

Justin Levi, Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's DiseaseThink about your six best friends.  Call them up.  Ask them to come over.  Get them in the same room together, and look around.

By the time you are all 65 years old, one of you will have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

One of you will eventually fail to remember your name, or the names of his or her children.

One of you will need constant supervision in order to stay safe, and will need constant assistance to perform even the most basic functions, known as Activities of Daily Living, or ADL’s.

One of you will gradually lose motor control and the ability to speak.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, by the year 2020, 1 in 7 Americans over the age of 65 will have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  And because there is currently no cure, Alzheimer’s will eventually claim the life of one of you in that room.

That’s why I joined the fight to find a cure for this horrible disease.



The Scary Truth

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Alzheimer’s is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and the fifth leading health-related cause.  Yet, of those diseases, Alzheimer’s is the only one with no cure and no real treatment.  It is progressive, and it is deadly.

Most importantly, I joined the fight against Alzheimer’s because of what I have seen with my own eyes.

For years, I have been the administrator of multiple residential care facilities for the elderly, where we cared for many elderly individuals, nearly all of whom had Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia.

I’ve seen firsthand the frustration on a person’s face when he cannot express his thoughts.

I’ve seen the humiliation that someone feels when she is forced to wear an adult diaper and requires assistance to change it.

And I’ve seen the tears shed by loving children at the realization that their parents will never again remember who they are.

These experiences changed me, and they motivated me.

Alzheimer’s does not just take a person’s life.  It takes that person’s dignity.  It takes that person’s mind.  It takes away everything that made that person special.  It takes everything.

With such a horrible prognosis, you’d think people would care about Alzheimer’s.  They don’t.

Alzheimer’s disease is severely under-funded.  According to the National Institutes of Health, Alzheimer’s research is not even in the top 30 most highly funded diseases.  But why?

Alzheimer's Disease diagnosis, Alzheimer's Association



We Hate Getting Old

Most people don’t want to think about aging.  We see mom starting to “lose her marbles,” and our reaction is to “put her in a home.”  In other words, put her somewhere where I don’t have to see her that much.  We are scared.

People don’t contribute to Alzheimer’s research because they don’t want to think about getting the disease.  Ignorance is bliss, until a diagnosis takes away that ignorance.



Alzheimer’s Isn’t Sexy

ALS had Lou Gherig.  Parkinson’s has Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox.  AIDS has Magic Johnson, among others.  These are just some of the names that have made their respective diseases very popular.  Alzheimer’s doesn’t have a famous face, and it is not a “sexy” cause.

Who doesn’t love children?  Whose hearts do not ache at the thought of sick children?  Contributing to pediatric research is easy.  But helping the elderly… not as much.

That’s why I joined the fight – because the 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s need my help.

Their children, struggling to care for them, need my help.

The children whose grandparents can no longer remember their names need my help.

And they need your help.



Getting Involved

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading advocate for people with Alzheimer’s disease.  Contact them today –

Find out how you can get involved.  Find out how you can join the fight.

Alzheimer's Disease, caregiver, Alzheimer's research

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