Today I saw a video by Maria Shriver on her blog asking what could be done to shift the focus of politicians and the research community to the over 5 million afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease. What about all of those caregivers? It reminded me of last year when one of my family members was diagnosed. She was in her 90’s and really well known for her strong will and independent spirit. She lived and worked until a series of events happened. She got lost on the way home from work a couple of times. When the family went to check on her, they found the gas stove on. It was determined that she needed assisted living in order to safely function. We are thankful for the years she has had and that the family could get her help before she hurt herself, but whenever I think about her or the situation, it really makes me sad. It also makes me think about how important it is to have some kind of plan or support to deal with this. There are so many people I’ve read about and seen on our news media who are caring for children AND parents with catastrophic illness. I know the Republicans and the Tea Party would like to stick their fingers in their ears and over their eyes and forget about the very real shortcomings of our medical system, but that is not the answer. Maybe the very flawed proposition of our president is not either, but SOMETHING needs to be done. Here are a couple of videos from the Alzheimer’s Association that explain more about what Alzheimer’s is and the toll it takes.