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Man hopes to remove stigma

Register • Apr 9, 2014 at 7:10 PM

I just watched an encouraging HBO documentary film, produced in partnership with the National Institute of Aging of the National Institutes of Health. Its title, “Advances in Brain Images” explains the progress being made in understanding Alzheimer’s disease.

In this documentary, Dr. Spierling, who is an expert in Alzheimer’s research, gives advice to clinicians, “Reassure the patient and their family that they (the patients) have a real brain disease. They are not going crazy. They are not stupid. This is a real brain disease attacking their nerve cells and making these symptoms occur”

Interesting, isn’t it? The shame one associates with having this disease. A disease the patient didn’t cause, yet so many feel embarrassment or shame.

And so it was with breast cancer. Through no fault of their own, there was a day when the breast cancer patient felt the same shame and embarrassment. Only when more people openly shared they had this disease, did the stigma go away.

We aren’t there yet with Alzheimer’s disease, but we can be.

One individual has made it his mission to lead this charge. 

His name is Darrel.

A retired minister, who partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association of Northwest Ohio to make a documentary titled “Instead of Your Name” In it he shares his story of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and how he first dealt with it by trying to keep it a secret. It was his wife who advised him, “You need to have a life similar to what you have always had. You have got to tell everybody that you have Alzheimer’s” So he took his message on the road, talking about his illness and freeing others who are affected by the disease.

By reaching out to people with Alzheimer’s, Darrel said, “It made my life better”

“Instead of Your Name” will be shown 1-2 p.m. April 28, at United Church of Christ Congreational, 990 State St., Vermilion; and from 3-4 p.m. at Sandusky Community Church of the Nazarene, 1617 Milan Road, Sandusky. Brenda Hendricks, gerontologist with the Alzheimer’s Association of Northwest Ohio, will host a question-and-answer session following the 20-minute film.

An audience of 25 or more is required to justify the time and travel. If you would like to attend, please RSVP before April 24, by calling Serving Our Seniors office 419-624-1856 or 800-564-1856. Ask for Sarah’s voice mail and leave your name and the date and time of the event you wish to attend.

Ask Serving Our Seniors

Q: Can I talk to the gerontologist, who speaks at “Chat with Brenda” about my memory? Is there a fee?

A: Private appointments are available the third Thursday of each month. Call Serving Our Seniors to inquire about an appointment. There is no fee/charge for this service.

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