Alzheimer’s disease (also known as just Alzheimer’s or AD) is a progressive, degenerative and ultimately fatal brain disease, in which cell to cell connections in the brain are lost. The disease was first identified by Alois Alzheimer as early as 1906, although up until the 1960s it was usually referred to as “senile dementia” and considered a normal part of aging. AD is now the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States today. Alzheimer’s disease is irreversible and a very progressive brain disease, that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks of daily living. Although treatment can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, and helps manage symptoms in some people, currently there is no cure for this devastating disease.
This progressive disease is a form of dementia that impacts memory, cognitive movements, thinking and behavior. While it’s most associated with those over 65, it can start as early as the 40’s and 50’s. More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s today, with another person developing the disease every 68 seconds. By 2050, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to triple. As if those numbers weren’t staggering enough, consider this: Alzheimer’s disease is the only cause of death among the top 10 (it’s currently ranked No. 6) in the United States that can’t be prevented, cured or slowed down.
Many American families have been touched by the tragic impact of Alzheimer’s disease. “Good Times” TV star Thelma, played by BernNadette Stanis, has vowed to never forget the good times she had with her mom. BernNadette was impacted when her beloved mother was diagnosed at age 72, and died in 2011 from Alzheimer’s and its’ complications. It is important to BernNadette that others know it’s possible to cope with this devastating disease. BernNadette recognizes that this disease is a hurtful one because, “it takes so much away from individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, and their caregivers and families”. Most of all, it hurts when you love someone and have to see them lose so much of who they once were. What would you do if a mother, father, or loved one did not know who you were or where they were? In the “eye of the storm”, BernNadette clearly missed the way things were, but made a conscious decision not to let the disease take the time she and her mother had together. Therefore, BernNadette had to accept the inevitable progression of the disease, and vowed to “Remember the Good Times”.
Remembering the Good Times Alzheimer’s Foundation is a nonprofit organization formed by BernNadette that is dedicated to quality of care and excellence in service to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, and to their caregivers and families. Attention is directed towards providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting Alzheimer’s disease, and to their caregivers and families. Our mission is to promote education and awareness within the African American community to the caregivers and families who are affected by Alzheimer’s and related dementia disorders. Our vision is to solve the challenges of loved ones, and to provide leadership in advocacy, policy, services and research to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease.
BernNadette has been appointed the National African American spokesperson for The Alzheimer’s Association, which supports families dealing with the condition. We would love your support. If you need help dealing with a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you can call (800) 272-3900, a 24-hour Hotline to assist families living with Alzheimer’s.