|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.
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.