Glad to hear Will Ferrell pulled out the planned comedy portraying Ronald Reagan suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.   People from all political sides united in outrage about this because Alzheimer’s disease respects no religion, race, or political ideology.

It is estimated that the stress of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can take five and even ten years off the life of a caregiver, and yet Will Ferrell and the people behind this movie took the time to write and plan a comedy about this tragic disease rather than create something that serves as source of encouragement and awareness.

More than twenty-five years ago, I vividly recall a co-worker dealing with this horrific disease as it consumed his wife who was diagnosed with early onset of Alzheimer’s.
“I’m terrified of dying before her …who would take care of her?’ he once confided to me with deep emotions. Although much older than me, he and I shared a bond of caregiving husbands. At the time, I was only three years into what has now become a thirty-year journey as a caregiver for my wife with severe disabilities.

Sadly, his heart gave out just a few years later. He was 65, and his wife lived another ten years.

The carnage of this disease has no place in comedy. While daily advocating humor and the healing power of laughter for my fellow caregivers, this effort is not healing—it’s insulting and callous. A movie of this sort reveals the character of those would participate.

If you love someone, you will be a caregiver. If you live long enough, you will need one. Statistics reveal that every individual connected with this movie will experience the heartbreak of a loved one who will struggle with disease, impairment, or injury.

Rather than use this disease and it’s devastation for comedic exploitation, these producers, actors, writers, etc., could use their skills to lift the hearts of those who feel crushed under such a burden.

It is beyond the pale to castigate a family in such a manner—specifically a family who has so nobly inspired others who share their painful journey.

Consideration and good taste seem to always fall victim to free speech and “artistry.”

I join my heart with those who, with red-rimmed eyes filled with tears, turn from a bedside and silently glare at the adolescent foolishness of those who would mock that which others so heartbreakingly bear.
Peter Rosenberger is the founder of Caregivers with Hope, and for the past 30 years, he has personally travelled the path of a family caregiver. He’s the author of “Hope for the Caregiver,” and hosts a weekly radio show for caregivers on I Heart Media’s 1510 WLAC (Nashville, TN). www.caregiverswithhope.com

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