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June 11, 2004 - Image 75

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-06-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Last Cali

The Long Goodbye

epending
on whom
you talk
to, Ronald Reagan
was one of our
greatest presidents
and worthy of a .
spot on Mt.
Rushmore, a sec-
HARRY
ond-rate actor who
KI RS BAUM became a 9-5 presi-
Columnist
dent or everything
in between.
Since he died on June 5 of com-
plications from his 10-year bout
with Alzheimer's disease, thousands
have lined up to pay tribute as his
body lay in
state at his
presidential
library in Simi
Valley, Calif.,
and in the
Capitol
Rotunda in
Washington,
D.C.
Hundreds
have left flow-
ers or jelly
beans after
their visit, or
added their
thoughts on
Web site mes-
sage boards.
Newspapers
have featured
special sec-
tions on
Reagan's life and President Reagan
his legacy, and
television networks have provided
blanket coverage with special
reports.
Much sympathy has been
bestowed upon Reagan's family,
especially Nancy, his devoted wife
and primary caregiver.
In recent years, she has spoken to
Larry King and other television
commentators about the pain and
difficulty in caring for her sick hus-
band.
"It's sad to see somebody you love
and have been married to for so
long and you can't share memories,"
she told Larry. "That's the sad part."
Although she shares the same
amount of emotional suffering as
the other primary caregivers of the

Harry Kirsbaum's e-mail address is

hkirsbaum@thejewishnews.com

4.5 million Americans who suffer
from Alzheimer's disease, the wife of
40th president of the United States
had the means to obtain the best
care available.
With daily doctor visits and pri-
vate nurses to tend to the former
president, it doesn't take a great leap
of imagination to think that the
Secret Service agents responsible for
his safety pitched in to help move
him from bed to wheelchair, or help
turn him every three hours to pre-
vent bedsores.
Nancy Reagan deserves our sup-
port and our sympathy. But her
story is no different than other fami-
lies who have to
deal with this dis-
ease.
In some strange
respects, her story is
easier than most.
According to the
Alzheimer's
Association Web
page, a recent poll
said that 10 percent
of Americans have a
family member suf-
fering from
Alzheimer's; 33 per-
cent said they know
someone with the
disease.
Nancy Reagan has
the love of a nation
showering her with
praise and sympa-
thy, but many care-
givers suffer alone.
Take it from one
who knows. If you're thinking of a
fitting tribute to mourn the loss of
Ronald Reagan, calling a caregiver
to give a word of encouragement, or
writing a small check to the
Alzheimer's Association might be a
more meaningful tribute than writ-
ing a letter on a Web site message
board.
Here's the address: Aliheimer's
Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave.
Suite 1700 Chicago, Ill. 60601-
7633.
On a more uplifting note:
Congratulations, Mr. D. — One
championship down (Tampa Bay
Lightning), one to go (Pistons).
Welcome to West Bloomfield and
the world, twin cousins Haley and
Austin.
And happy birthday, Mom.



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