This week has been a long one. There is so much to write that I have been putting it off. But I decided that this weekend's adventure to South Carolina for the Alzheimer's Town Hall meeting would be a separate entry so I thought I should go ahead and fill in the rest of this week.
Several weeks ago when I was going to Chicago to speak, I took the airport shuttle from Athens to Atlanta. There were 10 women in this shuttle (poor driver) and of course you can imagine there was a lot of talking! Someone asked me what I was going to Chicago for and I said a meeting. Then she asked me what kind of meeting. I told her. Then she asked me why I was going to the meeting. I told her I was speaking. She asked me what I was speaking about and I told her. As always, that opens up a new conversation. And, as always, most everyone knows or has someone in their family with Alzheimer's. The lady asking me all the questions had a mother with the disease and the lady sitting next to me had a brother (age 64) with Alzheimer's. He was in an assisted living home. Obviously, the topic revolved around Alzheimer's for the rest of the ride. I kept noticing that a lady in front of us kept turning her head to listen in on the conversation. Eventually, she turned around and joined us. Turns out she is with the Gerentology Dept. at the University of Georgia. She had participated in our Athens Memory Walk. She also asked me if I would come and speak to her class.
This past Monday night, I went to Dr. Glass' class and spoke. What a great experience it was. The head of the department, Dr. Poon, spoke before me and talked of his research with Centenarians. It was very fascinating. The class was a graduate level class and the students varied greatly in what fields they were heading into. I enjoyed speaking with them and I am hoping that I will continue to be in contact with them and they can possibly help in some future fund raising opportunities for Memory Walk. I really appreciated the opportunity to visit with them and to get to spend some time with Dr. Poon. We talked a little about the "cognitive reserve" that I have mentioned in my blog several times. He thought it would be useful to keep track every day of where "my tank" was on reserve and to highlight the reasoning behind it. I think it is a good idea, I just haven't gotten around to start logging it yet!
Going back to Chicago, a very similar thing happened to me as I was sharing a cab to the hotel with a lady from Boston. She asked me a lot of the same questions the lady in the van asked me and eventually asked me to come to Boston to speak to a group of people. She evidently works in the field of health care with an emphasis on aging. She thought it would be interesting to get some of her staff and associates together to hear what I had to say. Interesting how these things come about.
Earlier this week I went to Atlanta to visit with the Alzheimer's Assn. Chapter President, Jan Bequeath. After eleven years with the Association she is stepping down at the end of this month. Jan has been someone I have admired both as a friend and a leader. Her staff has always been there for me and she will be sorely missed. I wish her well. That same night I attended the "Better Start Living" concert -- it was a benefit concert for the Alzheimer's Association at a new venue in Atlanta. Song writer Monte Powell started organizing this about a year ago. Monte is a prolific writer and has many many No. 1 songs for country artists across the board. His family has been affected by Alzheimer's and he wanted to do something to help raise money. One of the performers he writes for is Keith Urban, so he invited Keith Urban to town for an acoustical show! It seemed to be a success and I hope a lot of money was raised. There will be other "Better Start Living" concerts to come -- possibly to a town near you!
All of my cognitive reserve was completed by yesterday. I got home from Atlanta and I think I slept the rest of the day! I was pretty out of it. I'll rest some more this morning and then this afternoon I'm off to Spartanburg SC for the Town Hall meeting Saturday morning. Someone from the Chapter office is driving me over there so I shouldn't have to call on "that reserve" until this evening when I meet with the staff from Chicago and Washington DC for dinner. I'm excited about the Town Hall meeting tomorrow. I hope the turnout will be good.
More when I return.