Apr 22, 2011

Alzheimer's on Television, Wondering Why?

None of the lovie dovie stuff you see on television all the time. Real world person living in Alzheimer's World. Way in there. Let the camera role, see what happens -- live...
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Larry King
Larry King is doing a special show on CNN on May 1, Unthinkable: the Alzheimer’s Epidemic. In my opinion Larry King is the best interviewer ever on television. Charlie Rose is also excellent.

In Larry's case, he is fantastic at listening to an answer to a question, and then asking a follow up question. No ego like with these other talking head talk show hosts. No hype.

As I look at the cast of characters for this show I can't help but go -- ho hum.

Now I don't have anything against Maria Shriver. In my opinion she is one of the best, if not the best Alzheimer's advocates we have. But, I notice many caregivers get their noses bent out of shape when it comes to Maria, because somehow they conclude she had lots of help with her father and she is not like "us".

Well I don't know about that. It seems to me she is made of flesh and blood like the rest of us, and its obvious she suffered the same heart break and gut wrenching experience that most of us suffer. I would like to see her asked about this though.

Seth Rogen, I like this young man and actor. He really seems like he gets it and feels it. He wants to raise awareness of early onset Alzheimer's. Maybe he would like to talk to us sometime.

The rest of the guests, oh well.

Here are some of the people I would like to see (hear) Larry King or Charlie Rose interview.

Harry John's, CEO of the Alzheimer's Association. I would to see him asked why he said,

"Alzheimer's is a tragic epidemic that has no survivors. Not a single one."

Then I would like to see him answer this question, "does he understand that he insulted the entire Alzheimer's community and left most of us with a sense of outrage"?

I would also ask him to explain in one sentence the vision of the Alzheimer's Association. Then explain their current mission.

I would also like to see him asked how much money is raised through the efforts of the Alzheimer's Association office in West Palm Beach, Florida? What percentage of the funds raised are put directly into programs that benefit and educate Alzheimer's caregivers right here in Palm Beach county.

I would like to see Wantland "Jay" Smith interviewed. Jay suffers from mild cognitive impairment. Wouldn't it be interesting to hear directly from someone that suffers from an early stage of Alzheimer's disease? Jay is very passionate. Wouldn't his unique perspective be helpful in raising "real awareness"?

I would like to see Rudy Tanzi interviewed. Dr. Tanzi could give the Alzheimer's community a unique perspective into the role that genetics play in Alzheimer's disease. Then he could explain the role that lifestyle choices play in the predisposition to Alzheimer's. He could answer this question, What should someone that is predisposed to Alzheimer's be doing? As important, what should they be avoiding.

I would like to see Dotty and Harvey interviewed together. None of the lovie dovie stuff you see on television all the time. Real world person living in Alzheimer's World. Way in there. Let the camera role, see what happens -- live. If the Alzheimer's Association and others want to raise awareness and money, they should turn Dotty loose for the world to see and hear.

I wouldn't mind seeing our bulldog Carole Larkin interviewed. Alzheimer's caregivers often feel like they are abandoned by family and friends. Carole could explain what the family and friends could be doing to help lighten the burden, how to do it, and how to do it a way that is effective and not so very time consuming. She could do that, because she already does that.

What would I like to see discussed on television?

Why are Alzheimer's caregivers the forgotten?

What is it like living in the front row?

What is it like being a survivor of Alzheimer's disease. How do you do it?

By the way, I know hundreds of survivors.

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 2,560 articles with more than 412,100 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

The Alzheimer’s Action Plan: The Experts’ Guide to the Best Diag­no­sis and Treat­ment for Mem­ory Prob­lems
The 36-Hour Day A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room