My EADS luncheon talk

This is the “Family Story” and “Ask” that I presented at the
Elder and Adult Day
Services luncheon on Februay 5th, 2009.
(Dr. John Medina of Brain Rules was the keynote speaker.)

I’m here to tell you some things that you probably already know.

Like my story.

My mother passed away in 2003 at the age of 82.

My father passed away a year and a half ago at the age of 91.

And I know, that you know, which of the two had Alzheimer’s.

You already know my story because you’ve either seen it, or lived it
yourself.

Leo speaking at EADS Luncheon

My parents were Dutch immigrants, coming to Canada in 1952, and then to
the United States with me, their only child, 8 years later.

Having survived living in an occupied country through World War II,
they both developed a kind of strength that would be characteristic of
their peers of that generation.

Being immigrants they used that strength to create a life of
independence and self-reliance.

Once again … you already know this story.

You know that it was my father who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in
the mid 1990’s.

You know that it was my mother who took care of him.

You also know that … independent and self-reliant to a fault …
it wore her out.

Taking care of my father was, to her, an important duty, a
responsibility even. Her plan was simply to care for him until he no
longer recognized her, and then … well … “we’ll see”, she’d
say.

Unfortunately in a perverse race between his memory and her health,
it was the memory of the Alzheimer’s patient that outlasted.

In the year before she passed away, we began to realize exactly how
much of a toll her choices were taking on her. We did manage to find
some outside help in the form of some respite care. I was able to spend
Thursday afternoons with her while my dad had someone else to be
with.

You also know how this story ends.

It lasted about 6 months.

It was too little too late. The stress was too much. Her body simply
wore out.

There are other things you already know as well.

You know that my story is decidedly not unique. The details may
vary, but this story is being lived by families all over our region,
every day.

You know that you’ve heard way too much about “baby boomers” of
late. But you also know all that talk is based in truth: there is a
wave coming – the need we’re talking about here today is only going to
get bigger.

And you’re here because you know that the services provided by Elder
and Adult Day Services is a critical part of taking care of the
caretaker; taking care of the family; taking care so that they don’t
become, for lack of a better term, collateral damage in another
perverse race against dementia or another debilitating condition.

And you’re here because you know that not everyone can afford it.

And because you know what I’m about to ask you to do…

I’m going to ask you to support Elder and Adult Day Services.

Table captains, if you would, please pass out the pledge cards and
envelopes.

It’s traditional at this point in this kind of presentation to make a
request for you to consider doubling your planned donation by both
donating today, and also pledging to donate that same amount over the
next twelve months. And of course I encourage you all to consider doing
exactly that.

In my opinion the math is much easier if you just add a zero instead
, and turn that $150 donation into a $1500 donation, $300 into $3000 or
even more. I honestly hope that there are at least … say … three of
you … here today who will seriously consider the impact that this act
of generosity will have on your community.

The problem is that there’s something else you already know as
well.

You know that these are tough times.

But please keep in mind that it’s exactly because these are tough times
that we need you to give more, not less. Funding – both private and
government funding – is being affected by our tough economic times. If
Elder and Adult Day Services is to effectively to serve the ever
increasing needs in our community, it can only do so with your
extra-generous and increasing support.

Please … be generous. Please … write down a really big
number.

You know that it’ll be put to good use.

And you know that it’s needed.

Silver Dollar