Are we any closer to finding a cure for Alzheimer's?
Not really, but we are closer to understanding the science behind the disease, its gene and physiological makeup. We still don't have a clear cause, cure, treatment or prevention.
Caregiver fatigue is a commonly recognized problem. What's your advice for a spouse or child caring for an Alzheimer's patient?
Take care of yourself first. Like in an airplane when the flight attendant instructs you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then your child, caregivers must take care of themselves first -- medically, physically, emotionally, spiritually. They can't be any good to anyone else if they aren't strong.
Caregivers should seek out a support group/network that they can speak to and share responsibilities with. The Alzheimer's Association locally has
programs such as caregiver conferences, support groups and caregiver referral services that can provide support and information for caregivers.
Two Dementia Care Training workshops facilitated by the Alzheimer's Association are scheduled to be held this month at the Columbus Public Library on Macon Road -- March 25 for the professional caregiver and March 26 for the family caregiver. Call 706-327-6838 to make a reservation to attend these free workshops.
You recently unveiled the cast for this year's Dancing Stars of Columbus. What can people expect from the April 26 event?
This is the 5th Annual Dancing Stars of Columbus to benefit the Alzheimer's Association, and we have a great group of star and pro dancers that will perform at a fun evening that raises much-needed money for local programs and services for the Alzheimer's Association. Sponsors include Georgia Crown, Aflac, W.L. Amos Foundation, TSYS, WC Bradley, St. Francis Hospital and the West Georgia Eye Center.
This year we will have a special performance presented by Realtree -- YouTube sensation Marquese Scott, who has appeared on shows like "America's Got Talent." In four years, this event has raised about three quarters of a million dollars and has quickly become a sought-after charity event ticket.
Money raised through Dancing Stars provides funding for our local Caring Closet (free incontinence supplies); Safe Return (a medic alert program) registrations and training for public safety personnel; Arts for Alzheimer's (in partnership with the Columbus Museum and St. Francis Hospital); education programs (some with nationally known speakers and experts) and many other free programs. Visit www.dancingstarsofcolumbus.com to learn more.
Your son, Brian, is a tight end on the University of Alabama football team. What would you tell parents who are deciding whether to let their sons play football?
Let them. Not all boys or athletes of any kind will win two Division 1 national championships, but if they are interested in expressing themselves on a ball field or a theater, they should.
Football in particular teaches self discipline, teamwork, dedication, time management, commitment, maturity, loyalty, selflessness and so much more. It has provided opportunities beyond anything we could have ever imagined.
Aside from your organization, what's the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?
Its philanthropic spirit. The Valley is such a generous community, giving so much for those who need our support.