Bill Gates talks about why he is investing in the fight against Alzheimer’s. He first became interested in Alzheimer’s because of the burden, both emotionally and financially, it places on families and health care providers. More importantly, he has seen how Alzheimer’s affects a family up close in his own life.
Listening to the morning news today, I was surprised to hear about a new movie being directed by and starring Will Ferrell. It got my attention because the title of the new movie is “Reagan”. Politics aside, I happen to believe that Ronald Reagan was one of the most accomplished and successful presidents in the history of our country. Obviously, I’m a Reagan fan.
As I became more interested in the new movie and did more research on it, I became angry. The movie is intended to be a humorous satire that takes place at the beginning of President Reagan’s second term. The script tells the story of an intern given the job of convincing Reagan that he is an actor playing the part of the president. This is an obvious (and supposedly humorous) implication that President Reagan’s dementia became apparent during his last term in office, a claim that his family and physicians deny.
Even if the President’s dementia was apparent during his second term in office, the fact that he had dementia (in his case Alzheimer’s type), is no laughing matter. Frankly, it is not relevant 22 years later anyway. Diagnosed in 1994, President Reagan passed away in 2004 as a result of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
Michael Reagan, the President’s son, posted on Twitter. "What an outrage…Alzheimer’s is not a joke…It kills…You should be ashamed all of you."
His daughter, Patty Davis, wrote a letter on her website.
"I watched as fear invaded my father’s eyes-this man who was never afraid of anything. I heard his voice tremble as he stood in the living room and said, ‘I don’t know where I am’…" "For ten long years he drifted-past the memories that marked his life, past all that was familiar…and mercifully, finally past the fear."
Am I and others overreacting to this? Perhaps depending on perspective. Overreacting or not, I do not find anything about Alzheimer’s and any other type of dementia funny. This disease is devastating in so many ways; not only to the afflicted individuals, but to their families, caregivers and friends. It impacts our communities. It presents a significant financial challenge to most as well.
…Will Ferrell and team. I won’t be watching this movie but will instead focus on the many wonderful memories of Ronald Reagan and his legacy of one of the best President’s in our country’s history.
As I write it appears that Will Ferrell has retracted his position! He’s not going to make this movie.
I can only endorse Michael Reagan’s words – "Thank you for taking the right path." Will Ferrell should take Michael Reagan up on his offer and discover for himself how devastating this disease is not only for the afflicted individual but their caregivers and loved ones too. Only then will he truly understand the outrage and public outcry.