Dementia discussion with Sarasota Dartmouth Alumni Club

Posted on February 03, 2011 by Michael Corley, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

I had the opportunity to speak to the Dartmouth Alumni Club of Sarasota last week at Marina Jack restaurant near the Sarasota bay front. Interacting with this group reminded me of the incredible intellectual talent we have in this part of the country. The result was an engaging discussion on the challenges of dementia.

My presentation covered two topics:

1) An overview of The Patterson Foundation (since TPF is new - just over a year since it launched its vision and focus)

2) TPF’s Dementia Initiative.

The audience was attentive and engaging, and I was pleasantly surprised by their interest in dementia and TPF’s approach in this area. My host, Bill Wellstead, assured me prior to the meeting that this group would be interested in the topic of dementia because most of them are over age 65 and have had some experience with friends or family having dementia. He was absolutely right.

I shared with them that TPF is interested in addressing the time period along the dementia journey from pre-diagnosis until an individual goes into a nursing home.  Since there is not a cure for dementia, it is during this part of the journey where tools, tips and resources are critical for both the patient and caregiver.  No one disagreed.

Interestingly, in introducing me, Bill shared his experiences with a family member having dementia, and the often repeated refrain of, “What do I do now?” For those of you who have been reading my blog posts, you know that this is the one question that resonates with every patient, caregiver and family member, and one in which TPF wants to create an answer.

After the talk a woman approached me and told me that her husband has dementia. The disorder has progressed to the point that it is difficult for her to get out, and she confirmed all the challenges of being a caregiver. She also confirmed the question, “What do I do now?”

I did get asked about the latest science regarding finding a cure or treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease, and I was fortunate that John Adler, former Trustee of the Salk Institute, was in the audience.  He was able to share the latest information. (TPF is not involved in the area of research for Alzheimer’s Disease.)

This was a great audience and the interaction was engaging and informative. Interesting how it all came back to the question we have been asking, “What do I do now?”

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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