LawFuel.com – Pat Robertson has created another controversial storm with his comments that Alzheimer’s disease was like a “walking death”. The Alzheimer’s Foundation has responded to Robertson’s comments with anger, their founding president and chief executive Eric J Hall saying the Robertson comments show the need for greater public education about the disease.
“There is no doubt that this heartbreaking disease robs people of their memories and other intellectual functions, but to liken Alzheimer’s disease to, as Mr. Robertson said, ‘a kind of death’ fosters an insensitivity that feeds misperceptions about the disease,” Hall said. “It fails to take into account that people with Alzheimer’s disease, although impaired, deserve optimal care and dignity. Love and compassion are the greatest gifts for every human being until their very last breath.”
Pat Robertson’s comments were made to a caller on his “700 Club” show on the Christian Broadcasting Network, suggested that the caller’s friend divorce his wife who has Alzheimer’s disease and likened the brain disorder to a “walking death.”
AFA’s CEO said that the comments, while unfortunate, highlight the complex toll that Alzheimer’s disease presents.
Hall noted that all types of decisions made by families affected by Alzheimer’s disease are very personal–not “something that can be summed up with a blanket response. Every case of Alzheimer’s disease is different. Every family dynamic is different. Every emotional and financial toll is different. That’s my point. We’re talking about people who are living with Alzheimer’s disease.”
According to Hall, during the progression of dementia, caregivers can still strive to tap into a person’s essence–by engaging them in activities, when possible, or by simply holding their hand. Caregivers and professionals report that a glimmer of recognition can emerge even in the latest stages. Like a teen who entered AFA’s college scholarship program wrote about her grandmother, “For the first time in months, she didn’t just look at me, she saw me.”