My books are like a ripple effect, taking me downstream to situations unknown. Recently, our book, “No Act of Love Is Ever Wasted: The Spirituality of Caring for Someone with Dementia” was read and used by Lynda Everman. Because of the book, Lynda contacted me about a new advocacy group open to all faith backgrounds, ClergyAgainstAlzheimer's, which I joined as a founder.
46 years ago our mother died from Parkinson’s dementia with little support, except from her family. Three years ago our sister, Patricia, died from vascular dementia. For many years I was a nursing home chaplain, offering care to persons with this dreadful disease. I have led conferences on caring for persons with dementia, and I continue to co-facilitate our Alzheimer’s support group. Despite these meager efforts, and now unable to drive, I stay deeply concerned about this disease so many shove under the carpet. Many residents entering retirement communities now have some form of dementia. Family members stay in denial and think it is simply “senility,” either keeping them at home or “placing” them in retirement communities. Sadly they ignore the issue and often prevent their loved ones from getting treatment. What adds to my concern is the lurking fear, now that I am 85 years of age, that I stand a 50% chance of getting this disease of the mind, as the APOE gene is in my family gene pool.
So now I have a new mission – working with this new advocacy group, recruiting clergy friends and others to join in this battle for the mind. I am mindful of Dr. Martin Luther King’s words, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking.” If any of you share my concern and want more information about this advocacy group, please send Lynda an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me at email@example.com.
We need to STAMP out Alzheimer’s and give hope to 5.4 million Americans diagnosed with this mind robbing and always fatal disease, and to their 15.4 million unpaid caregivers. I BEG YOU, GET INVOLVED!!!
Dr. Richard L. Morgan is a retired Presbyterian Pastor and founding member of the ClergyAgainstAlzheimer's Network. This post was adapted from his blog "The View From 80." In 2013 Dr. Morgan was awarded the Presbyterian Older Adult Ministry Legacy for his 35 years of older adult ministry and work with people with Alzheimer’s or dementia. His most recent book is "Pilgrimage into the Last Third of Life" (with Jane Marie Thibault).