Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Future of Alzheimers Patients--From Despair to Hope

As the Babyboomers hit 65 and start tapping into Medicare, thoughts of a different kind of future tap at our consciousness...and it is not only the specter of mortality that raises its ugly head (despite Ray Kurzweil's assurances that if we can only hang on until new interventions are invented, we may not have to die). What if our bodies outlast our minds?

Many of us are seeing our parents descend into the murky and often agitated world of Alzheimers. We watch helplessly as they slowly disappear, their personalities eclipsed by the deterioration of their brains. In the past, care for these patients often translated into restraint and medication. Today new models are emerging however.

I am very proud to have a personal connection with a leader in the field of elder care. My sister Peggy Mullan is the CEO and President of a large "nursing home" in Phoenix Arizona which is being recognized for its innovative and compassionate approach to caring for Alzheimers patients. The Beatitudes Campus was featured on the front page of the New York Times on New Years Day. The informative and inspiring article describes how The Beatitudes has pioneered a more caring and humane approach to treating patients afflicted with this disease. My favorite quote from the artice? "For God's sake, if they want bacon, we give them bacon."

You can hear more about the Beatitudes this coming Tuesday, January 11, 2011 (1/11/11!) when Peggy is interviewed on NPR's Here and Now Program. The interview will be streamed live at 11:00 Mountain Time. If you miss the original broadcast, PRI offers podcasts.

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