Oct 26, 2009

Does Ellen Degeneres Know About the Plight of Alzheimer's Caregivers ?

Wondering about Ellen Degeneres

My name is Bob DeMarco, I am an Alzheimer's caregiver. My mother Dorothy, now 93 years old, suffers from Alzheimer's disease. We live our life one day at a time.

Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Every day at 11 AM I turn on the Ellen Degeneres Show for my mother to watch. Prior to my life as an Alzheimer's caregiver I had never seen the show.

I turn the show on because it makes my mother smile and sometimes laugh. If you are living in the front row of Alzheimer's like I am -- you know how important this is.

My mother really perks up when Ellen dances (so do I). She especially likes when Ellen has kids on the show.

Unlike other shows that are on during the day, the Ellen Degeneres show is very positive. It is my belief that Alzheimer's caregivers and Alzheimer's sufferers can benefit from watching this very positive television show.

I am sitting here now wondering -- Does Ellen Degeneres Know About the Plight of Alzheimer's Caregivers?

Does Ellen know that the majority of Alzheimer's caregivers suffer from feelings of abandonment? This phenomena is well documented by research, and I have written about it often on the Alzheimer's Reading Room. In articles like this one --
Are Alzheimer's Caregivers the Forgotten?

I am wondering if Ellen knows that more than 40 percent of Alzheimer's caregivers suffer from depression? Another well documented fact.

Does she know that more than 35 million Americans are worried about Alzheimer's? Does she know that more than 100 million Americans have been touched by Alzheimer's?

As I sit here, I wonder what it would be like if Ellen called my mother on the telephone? My mother can sit around for hours without saying a word. When she gets a telephone call she transforms into a completely different person. She starts smiling and laughing.

I particularly like when my mother starts into her favorite phone topic. This is when she the tells the person on the phone she is a healthy old broad. She proceeds to tell them how she has never taken a pill in her life -- her entire life. This in spite of the fact that she takes both Aricept and Namenda for Alzheimer's, and five other medications -- every day.

In the beginning of my now six year career of caring for my mother when she would say things like that I would get "all bent out of shape". Now? Now it makes me chuckle. My mother was always a bit of a character, and now this is her way of being a bit of a character.

I believe all Alzheimer's caregivers should watch Ellen. It will bring a nice dose of positive into your day. Something we all need desperately.

I think there is one other very important thing that Ellen does that is important for caregivers and everyone that is watching from home -- the Ellen Degeneres show leaves you with a feeling that you are not Alone.

Feelings of abandonment and the sense of being alone often take Alzheimer's caregivers over the edge into depression.

Here is a good example of how Ellen gets the attention of my mother and brightens up her day.
Video of the Day: Kid Costume Ideas from Ellen

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Bob DeMarco
is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver.

Original content Bob DeMarco, Alzheimer's Reading Room