Stem Cells, Alzheimer's, the Search for Hope (cont.)

MEMBER QUESTION:
My mom has Alzheimer's now. I don't need to tell you how sad this is. I guess the research is more to help future victims, right? I know that's a good thing to do, but it's so hard on my family and me.

REAGAN:
You have my sympathy. I know how difficult this is. Just remember that even when your mother no longer understands your words, even when she no longer recognizes you, that she can still feel love and you can still provide it.

MEMBER QUESTION:
Do you have any tips on how to celebrate holidays with a parent in this situation? I don't mean to trivialize it but we're having difficult time dealing with my mom and the holidays are heightening it.

REAGAN:
Holidays are about family, about friends, and about love. Provide plenty of the above, but especially love.

MEMBER QUESTION:
How do you support the person caring for someone with Alzheimer's?

REAGAN:
That depends on their circumstances. Simply be as helpful as you can. I know that sounds like a lame answer, but it's hard to be more specific without knowing the particulars.

MEMBER QUESTION:
Do you have any concerns about developing the disease yourself?

REAGAN:
Because my father and both grandmothers and my father's brother all had Alzheimer's, I am at considerable risk myself. Hopefully, by the time I reach the age where this is a concern, a cure or treatment, even a vaccine, may be available. For now, I try not to worry about it.

MEMBER:
Alzheimer's Association is here to support and assist those with Alzheimer's and their families: 1-800-272-3900 and www.alz.org. Ask them what help they need, and then provide it, whatever it is. Time, presence, comfort, and support are all welcomed, as is a break from the responsibilities of caregiving.

MODERATOR:
We are almost out of time, Ron. Before we wrap things up for today, do you have any final words for us?

REAGAN:
For all those people who are suffering with diseases or who have friends and loved ones who are suffering, know that there are people out here fighting for you and that we will continue to fight.

MODERATOR:
Our thanks to Ron Reagan for joining us. For more information, please check out the links on our web site for stem cell research and visit the condition centers for Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

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