Will I Be Next?

How Will You Spend Your Longest Day?

How Will You Spend Your Longest Day?

On the summer solstice, sunrise-to-sunset encompasses approximately 16 hours, depending on where you live. Imagine spending all those hours doing something you love – – or something personally challenging – – such as an Amazing Race-style day filled with biking, swimming in the ocean, golfing, playing squash. Or perhaps a board game marathon is more your style? Many of us have heard of the Alzheimer’s Association®’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s held annually in the fall. Did you know they also hold a fundraising event in June during the summer solstice? It’s called “The Longest Day.” This year’s official event day is on Monday, June 20, although teams may choose to hold their events on a different day. The title and timing of the event acknowledges how each day living (or caring for a loved one) with Alzheimer’s disease can seem like the longest day. Similar to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, individuals form teams and solicit donations to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association®. This event is different, however, in that walking may or may not be involved. You get to select whatever activity you want to do, which can be anything you love to do. Some choose a favorite hobby of someone they have lost to Alzheimer’s to honor their memory. Examples include: dancing, bowling, golfing, reading, watching movies, doing crafts, swimming, playing bridge, making music…the choices are limitless. Perhaps the best part is that you don’t have to join or form a team from the same geographical area: teams can be virtual! Check out the Longest Day registration page or their Facebook Page to see if there is already...
“Will I Be Next?” short work-in-progress clip screened at Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Conference

“Will I Be Next?” short work-in-progress clip screened at Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Conference

Will I Be Next? offered a screening of a short work-in-progress clip at the 30th Annual Wisconsin Network Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias. The 3-day conference at the Wisconsin Dells saw an overall attendance of over 900 people, and offered 40+ break-out workshops. 78 people attended the sneak peek screening and feedback session led by producer Therese Barry-Tanner and Alzheimer’s nurse/sound person Amy Kruep. One of the film’s main characters, Karen McElwee Lloyd, responded to questions from workshop participants. “I’m excited to see the whole documentary,” wrote a participant. “It was informative and let viewers see how Alzheimer’s doesn’t just affect the person with it, but also the family.” “Emotional.  Hopeful,” wrote another. “The film personalizes the struggle families go through day to day in caring for loved ones. Often Alzheimer’s is behind closed doors – – unless you are in it, it is hidden from view.” “I feel the people involved in this study are very brave.” “(I feel) empowered to take control of my life through exercise and diet. Proud of the participants in the WRAP study for not giving up. . .” “. . .motivated to take better care of myself by exercising – – no more excuses!   I don’t want my children/grandchild to experience that type of caregiver hell!” These, along with much more feedback and insights will be useful in the continued filming and editing of the story. The team thanks all who attended and...
Alzheimer’s Has, at Least, Two Faces

Alzheimer’s Has, at Least, Two Faces

By Guest Blogger Brian LeBlanc (aka “The ALZ Guy” on Twitter) In 1996, Barbra Streisand  directed and starred in the movie, “The Mirror Has Two Faces.”  Streisand plays a homely-looking, Columbia University English Professor with low self esteem issues, who, through a personal ad placed by her sister, meets Jeff Bridges , a Columbia University leading figure in the Math Dept. They agree to marry based upon what they describe as a “palsy-walsy pseudo-marriage.” They see each other, as well as themselves, being not who they really are but seeing themselves only on the surface. At this point, you may be asking yourself, “What does Alzheimer’s have to do with a Barbra Streisand movie? Well, other than the title of the movie, it has to do with the perception of how we see ourselves and how others see us.  This brought to mind what I wanted to write about. Confused? Great! Welcome to my world. Maybe this will help: More than several months ago, at least I think it was, Shannon (my beautiful, understanding, loving wife) and I were returning home after a presentation I gave to a local Rotary Club. I always ask her how things went for I know she will be honest with me. This time, instead of giving me an answer, she started to cry. (I must tell you that due to the fact that Alzheimer’s has already begun its destruction of my short-term memory, I don’t remember many things, however, I do remember this.) I asked her what was wrong and this is what she told me. “You stand up there looking all polished and professional, reading from your prepared speech, smiling, cracking jokes, basically being...
“Will I Be Next?” to present at Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Conference

“Will I Be Next?” to present at Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Conference

The Alzheimer’s Association 30th Annual Wisconsin Network Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias will take place in the Wisconsin Dells on May 1-3, 2016.  It is one of the largest educational forums in the United States dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. On May 2,  Will I Be Next? will present a short work-in-progress screening and workshop to solicit insights and feedback. Producer Therese Barry-Tanner and Alzheimer’s nurse/sound person Amy Kruep will lead a group discussion. Karen McElwee Lloyd, one of the film’s main characters, will be available to discuss her experience in the WRAP study and in the film. The feedback will be utilized in the continued production and editing of Will I Be Next?. In addition to the pre-conference seminars and keynote speakers, the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Conference offers over 40 workshops at the conference. Topics cover a range of issues related to both patients and caregivers, including: assistive devices, bathing, creative engagement, denial, depression, safety, and...
Putting a Young Face on an Old Disease

Putting a Young Face on an Old Disease

Ashley Tracey was in middle school when her grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. “He was the spitfire of the family,” she remembers. “He was the one who would give you a wet willy when you were playing cards to try to distract you.” Although they didn’t live in the same area and she didn’t get to see him on a weekly basis, what struck her most each time they visited was how quickly the disease progressed in her grandfather. She was still in middle school when he passed away. “How could someone with so much spunk fizzle out so fast?” she wondered. When Ashley moved to Denver 3 ½ years ago and was looking for a way to make friends, she discovered the Blondes vs. Brunettes flag football event sponsored by the Colorado Young Professionals chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “It sounded like a lot of fun, a great way to meet people, and a way to raise awareness and funds for the disease that had claimed Grandpa Tracey,” she recalls. Little did Ashley know when she signed on to the Brunettes team that several years later she would end up coordinating the event! In June she came on board as the Special Events Coordinator for the Colorado Young Professionals. The Alzheimer’s Association has Young Professionals groups throughout the country.  The point of these organizations is to show the public that Alzheimer’s is not “an old person’s disease.” It affects people of every age, whether it’s yourself with an early-onset diagnosis (sometimes as early as in your 40s!), or whether it’s a family member of any age that...
“Will I Be Next?” Work-in-Progress Clip at International Neuropsychological Society’s Annual Meeting

“Will I Be Next?” Work-in-Progress Clip at International Neuropsychological Society’s Annual Meeting

The International Neuropsychological Society (INS) held its 44th annual meeting in Boston February 3-6, 2016. A six-minute work-in-progress clip from Will I Be Next? was shared prior to the awards ceremony, after the plenary session. INS Executive Director Gordon Chelune plans to devote an entire session to the film at the 2017 conference. The screening in Boston this year gave the audience a sneak peak of what’s ahead. The INS was founded in 1967 as a means of enhancing international communication across scientific disciplines about brain-behavioral relationships. There are approximately 4700 members throughout the world in...