Episode 13: Alzheimer’s, How To Diagnose It and What To Do About It with Dr. Loretta Redd

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Someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease every 72 seconds. How scary is the thought of getting this disease to you? What is Alzheimer’s? What causes it? What can be done to prevent it? Can it be treated, and how? By the age 85, 50% of Americans will develop Alzheimer’s. The emotional and financial costs are astronomical – today it averages $200,000 per year to care for an Alzheimer’s patient. Our guest today, Dr. Loretta Redd, Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Association, California Central Coast Chapter, helps us face our fears and answer our questions about this dread disease. Dr. Redd describes for us the terms “dementia,” “senility” and “Alzheimer’s,” and draws the distinctions between them. In diagnosing Alzheimer’s she says, “Look for loss of words and loss of orientation – it’s one thing to forget where your keys are but another to forget what they are for.” She talks about the ways to prevent or stave off Alzheimer’s and about the treatments and drugs that have proven of use in combating it. She tells us what hope is on the horizon and where to go for assistance.

Transcript

David Debin: Welcome to the Third Age show. I’m with the doctor, the man from Hollywood, I’m David Debin, known as the man from Hollywood and the doctor is Peter Brill, MD. On this show as you know we turn the myths of aging upside down. We sort out the scientific and the trendy, the medical and the cultural, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about living in the third age, so remember whatever you do, we guarantee if you listen to us week in and week out, you will never ever grow old.

Dr. Peter Brill: Hello, I’m the doctor, Dr. Peter Brill. The third age starts somewhere about 45 or 50. It’s a time when you start to feel a strong desire for deeper meaning and fulfillment in your life. Your first age is childhood, your second age is building career and family. The third age is a major change or transition to a whole new set of problems, values, opportunities and gratifications. So join us as fellow explorers in this journey to discover what brings passion, purpose and joy into this uncharted time of life. The support for our program by the way is growing. These are the people who believe in our mission.

David Debin: Someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease every 72 seconds, did you know that Peter?

Dr. Peter Brill: I did.

David Debin: I am afraid to breathe for fear my 72 seconds will pass. That is how scary the though of getting this disease is to me and to most people I know. What is it? What causes it? What can be done to prevent it? Can it be treated and how? Our guest today, Dr. Loretta Redd, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association, California’s Central Coast chapter, will help us face our fears and answer our questions about this thing that we hear so much about more and more. It is something that we hear about all the time…

Dr. Peter Brill: Oh boy. You know, I was just thinking about forgetting the other day, but I forgot what I was thinking about.

David Debin: Oh, hear we go. Here come all the forgetting jokes. You have one Marisa?

Marisa Scovasi: I think I…

Dr. Peter Brill: She’s not old enough to forget anything, are you? Do you ever forget anything?

Marisa Scovasi: Well, I do, yeah, then I just…

Dr. Peter Brill: What did you forget?

Marisa Scovasi: I don’t know, homework. No, I’m just kidding.

David Debin: I have a feeling it’s about a lot more than forgetting.

Marisa Scovasi: Yeah.

Dr. Peter Brill: It’s about a lot more than forgetting.

David Debin: And I know that there are a lot of people who, personal friends of mine, whose parents, I don’t have any friends that I know personally who I grew up with and came along with who actually is in dementia or Alzheimer’s now today, but I do know, have friends and know people whose parents are encountering it.

Dr. Peter Brill: Mm hmm.

David Debin: And it’s, to the kids, it appears to be one of the most unnerving things that can possibly happen…

Dr. Peter Brill: Oh sure, it’s sad.

David Debin: until, until they understand it completely and then find a way to make it an experience that’s part of life as opposed to something that’s hurtful and painful.

Dr. Peter Brill: That was very insightful. It’s gotten so bad, I’m going to continue with the forgetful jokes…

David Debin: Yeah.

Dr. Peter Brill: Or statements…

David Debin: Okay, It’s gotten so bad…

Dr. Peter Brill: It’s gotten so bad that the tennis game that we do, we can, we’re having trouble remembering the scores…

David Debin: Uh huh.

Dr. Peter Brill: And there are four of us, you know, in a doubles game and we think we’re going to have to start employing a young man to just sit there to tell us the score…

David Debin: Mm hmm.

Dr. Peter Brill: you know, to keep track of it.

David Debin: Uh huh.

Dr. Peter Brill: So…

David Debin: Now, Jared you’re going to have to do the laugh track here. With all of the…

Dr. Peter Brill: That’s not funny. No, it’s not funny.

David Debin: Oh, it’s not funny, okay.

Dr. Peter Brill: No, it’s not intended to be funny.

David Debin: Oh, okay.

Dr. Peter Brill: The problem is that a lot of people as they age also start to have some problems with their memory, so we’re going to have to do a lot today to talk about the difference between early onset Alzheimer’s and forgetting and the normal, normal loss that, you know, as people age.

David Debin: I’d like to introduce Dr. Loretta Redd, and she’s been director of the Central Coast chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association for 2 years, during which time they have expanded their service area and outreach to those with Alzheimer’s disease and to their care providers and families. She has her doctorate in psychology, and Dr. Redd has been a clinician specializing in childhood illness and crisis management. She’s also served as an Air Force captain, which I love.

Dr. Peter Brill: Mm hmm.

David Debin: I’m just attracted to women in uniform.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Ya’ll can give me 20.

Dr. Peter Brill: Wait a minute folks, you got to wait ‘til, he’s going to be breathing heavy when he gets back from doing his 20 push-ups.

David Debin: If I could do 20, really. And she’s been director of other non-profits in Atlanta, San Francisco, but what we’re here to talk about today is Alzheimer’s. Welcome to the show, Dr. Redd.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Thank you very much David. Thank you, Peter.

David Debin: It’s really great to have you here.

Dr. Peter Brill: We were talking about the crisis in Atlanta, right, during the break?

David Debin: Yeah, the water, yeah.

Dr. Peter Brill: The loss of water, and what were you saying to us?       

Dr. Loretta Redd: That there’s nothing to make Coca Cola and have with your Bourbon, yeah.

Dr. Peter Brill: No, nothing to have with your bourbon.

Dr. Loretta Redd: It’s true.

David Debin: Maybe we can sell the water, no we got to buy water.

Dr. Peter Brill: That’s where you’re from originally, right?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Originally, yes.

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.

Dr. Loretta Redd: You don’t want me to start to sound like it though because you don’t have enough time…

Dr. Peter Brill: Oh, let me hear it, let me hear it, can we hear it?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Sure can. You don’t have time for me to sound like I’m from the south, it’d eat up your whole program.

Dr. Peter Brill: Did you use to sound that way?

Dr. Loretta Redd: My mother forbade it.

Dr. Peter Brill: Oh did she?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Yes.

David Debin: Well she did a good job because you have perfect diction.

Dr. Peter Brill: Diction, yeah.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Thank you.

David Debin: I have question number one.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Yes?

David Debin: What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disorder that is unknown the cause of, but it is a progressive disorder and one that can start as early as the mid 40’s, that’s called early onset Alzheimer’s. One of the sources could be in small number of cases 15 to 20 percent genetic, but the others have to do with the protein, we think, in the brain.

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah, it’s stored there.

David Debin: Now 15 to 20 percent genetic…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Mm hmm.

David Debin: it doesn’t really sound like it’s a, it’s a big, is that a big scare factor? I’m not sure about percentages.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Well for people that recognize that there is multi generational factors of Alzheimer’s in their family, they, you know, it’s nice to, to be able to have the test to see if you have the markers for genetic related disorder, but for the rest of us, no it’s, we’re uncertain as to what the cause is.

Dr. Peter Brill: We’ll just have to wait and see.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Mm hmm.

David Debin: What is the test? I’m sorry, I just want, what is that test, yeah that…

Dr. Loretta Redd: It’s a genetic biomarker test where there’re certain, certain parts of the gene that are precursors for Alzheimer’s and they can test those. One of the latest research factors that’s been done is what’s called biomarkers in different body fluids, so they test for urine, blood, etcetera and spinal fluid as well, and there’re 18 biomarkers which they hope will be positive predictors for Alzheimer’s in people that are non genetic related.

David Debin: So…

Dr. Peter Brill: Would you like to know David like 15 years early?

Dr. Loretta Redd: That’s a question for a lot of people. Do you want to know or not know?

David Debin: No, no I would, I would like to know for sure, if I could know for sure 15 years early…

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.

David Debin: sure I would.

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.

David Debin: But I would like to, I would like to know, these tests, are they, are they something that everyone can take? It sounds very complicated to go and have these tests taken.

Dr. Peter Brill: No, but they, to have extensive tests that the whole population would take which would only account for 20 percent, 15 to 20 percent…

David Debin: Of the genetic markers.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Maximum.

David Debin: Got it, got it, okay.

Dr. Peter Brill: It’s not…

David Debin: So, alright.

Dr. Peter Brill: So, how do normal people, how do we tell, how, using my example that none of us can remember the score anymore?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Right, well, you know, forgetting is a normal process in aging. It’s, it’s, it happens to all of us as we get older, you know, our brains atriphe a little bit by use and abuse and alcohol use and other things, but there’re other cofactors that we look for in diagnosing Alzheimer’s such as a loss of words is part of it, a loss of orientation. It’s sort of, we like to say it’s one thing to forget…

Dr. Peter Brill: When you say orientation, what you mean is the person doesn’t know where they are or when they are.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Where you are in space. Exactly.

Dr. Peter Brill: Okay.

Dr. Loretta Redd: And then familiar places, and then the forgetting gets progressively worse, but we kind of say it’s one thing to forget where your keys are, it’s something else to forget what they’re used for.

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah. So it’s a much more severe kind of, we’re not quite there yet…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Well, from what I can tell your tennis group is safe so far.

Dr. Peter Brill: We can still remember what the ball is for.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Yes. The fact that you drove there and showed up there, I think there’s a pretty good break, yes.

Dr. Peter Brill: Pretty good sign we’re all okay.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Uh huh.

Dr. Peter Brill: So, but how can some, I guess you answered that question, how can someone tell the difference between forgetfulness and dementia in general?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Mm hmm.

Dr. Peter Brill: Which is that the, it’s a much bigger thing than just forgetting a few words…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Yes.

Dr. Peter Brill: than forgetting, like we sit around, it’s really funny at, we sit around at a dinner party with 8 or 10 couples and half the time the guys are there they’re having to ask their wives the name of something.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Mm hmm.

David Debin: Yeah.

Dr. Peter Brill: That’s not dementia.

Dr. Loretta Redd: That is not dementia, no.

Dr. Peter Brill: That’s normal aging.

Dr. Loretta Redd: It, I mean…

David Debin: It’s codependence.

Dr. Peter Brill: Codependence…

David Debin: I did that when I was 30, come on.

Dr. Peter Brill: That’s the tipping point says the couples pass your minds and memory. One remembers one thing and one another.

David Debin: But what is dementia? That’s what I’d like to know.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Dementia is the umbrella term of which there are numerous different causes, Alzheimer’s being the largest cause of dementia, but you can have vascular dementia which I know Dr. Brill knows about, which is the loss of oxygen and the, the reduction of blood supply to the brain. There’re Louie bodied diseases, there’re a number of different causes for a variety of different types of dementia. Dementia means without mind, the death of mind, so that’s the umbrella term, and Alzheimer’s just happens to be the largest percentage cause of dementia. And then the other term that you hear often time is senility. And this is an interesting, interesting term because it’s a reflection of where we’ve come as a culture. Senility is based on the Latin words of Sena or sixty, so we used to think of 60 plus as old age. And part of what’s causing the enlarging numbers of Alzheimer’s cases is that we have overcome so many of the diseases that used to create loss of life at 60 or before. It’s no mistake that Medicaid and Medicare start at the age they do because you were supposed to sign up and die within five years.

Dr. Peter Brill: And the percentage of people who are going to develop Alzheimer’s if we don’t find some better process if you have what it is by 80 is, what is it, 40 percent?

Dr. Loretta Redd: By 85, 50 percent.

Dr. Peter Brill: 50 percent.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Half of the people. At 65, 1, 1 in 7. By 85, now 1 in 2, so it is an epidemic. It’s a world pandemic actually of, of a necessary, you know, disease to overcome and to explore.

Dr. Peter Brill: We don’t have the money to take care…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Oh, you don’t have…

Dr. Peter Brill: 50 percent of the population.

Dr. Loretta Redd: No. This is, right now it’s costing roughly 200 thousand dollars per household…

Dr. Peter Brill: Per year.

Dr. Loretta Redd: for the generation, no duration of the disease.

Dr. Peter Brill: For the duration.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Mm hmm.

David Debin: Who are, you mean per household of the people who have Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Peter Brill: Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Yes, mm hmm.

Dr. Peter Brill: So, if we had…

Dr. Loretta Redd: So it’s financially impactful, emotionally impactful.

Dr. Peter Brill: we have 30 million people…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Absolutely.

Dr. Peter Brill: and half of them have Alzheimer’s, we’re talking more money than…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Yes.

Dr. Peter Brill: there is.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Well, there are 5 million people now with Alzheimer’s, and as you introduced 72 seconds there’s a new diagnosis, so by the time we’ve finished here today, you know, you’ll have 35 or 40 more cases.

Dr. Peter Brill: Well, I’m failing my math test. What is 200 thousand times 5 million? Anybody do that out there? Can you this in. It’s…

David Debin: Don’t get us for that.

Dr. Peter Brill: It’s, it’s in the, it’s in the hundreds of billions.

Dr. Loretta Redd: It’s a, it’s a lot of zeros.

David Debin: Yeah.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Mm hmm.

Dr. Peter Brill: And it’s going to double and double and double as the age keeps going up.

David Debin: Does long term care insurance provide for that, part of the 200 thousand?

Dr. Loretta Redd: It depends on when you got the long term care, whether you’ve been updating your policy which we strongly suggest people do, and the percentage of people that actually have long term care. But yes it can offset.

David Debin: Normally the policy needs to have some kind of special mention of long term care or it won’t cover it.

Dr. Loretta Redd: There’s long term care insurance policies that changed over the years, so my best piece of advice is to go back and review it with your insurance…

David Debin: Great idea.

Dr. Loretta Redd: and make sure.

Dr. Peter Brill: Okay, we’re going to get into the treatments available, what people can do to prevent it. Stay with us. We’ll be right back with The Third Age.

David Debin: You’re listening to The Third Age, the third age, the show that keeps you young forever. Missed one of our programs, we don’t, we can’t guarantee that you’ll stay young, but if you keep listening to us we guarantee you’ll never get old. I’m David Debin. I’m here with Dr. Peter Brill, Marisa Scobasi and Dr. Loretta Redd. Peter, you had a question for the doctor.

Dr. Peter Brill: Well I just want to talk about the treatments. I mean it’s, people know that this is a deteriorating disease, we all know, we’ve seen people…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Right.

Dr. Peter Brill: we’ve heard of people, you know, wandering off and eventually can’t remember who they are, where they are or anything…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Mm hmm.

Dr. Peter Brill: But are there any treatments, any promising treatments?

Dr. Loretta Redd: There are some, well there’s the difference between what’s there and what’s promising…

Dr. Peter Brill: Mm hmm.

Dr. Loretta Redd: There are some drugs now that are given that help slow down the progression…

Dr. Peter Brill: Uh huh.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Let’s put it that way, and there are three or four that are especially commonly diag… or prescribed. But on the horizon we’re looking at some pharmaceuticals that could stave off the onset by 6 or 8 years or slow it down by 6 or 8 years, which if you’re developing Alzheimer’s in your 80’s could be a very significant factor.

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.

Dr. Loretta Redd: So we’re excited about that.

Dr. Peter Brill: beta with the protein that’s or the ameloid that’s deposited.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Yes, the ameloid, the beta ameloid protein and the Tau protein, T A U protein, and if anyone wants to know more about the current research…

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.

Dr. Loretta Redd: you can always go to www.alz.org…

Dr. Peter Brill: Great.

Dr. Loretta Redd: which is the Alzheimer’s Association, the national associations website or go through our Central Coast chapter, we’ll be glad to give you the address as well.

Dr. Peter Brill: Well that’s, how do they find your Central Coast chapter?

Dr. Loretta Redd: centralcoastalz.org.

Dr. Peter Brill: Same place?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Same place, but you can get yours through the national as well.

Dr. Peter Brill: And is there a phone number they can call you too?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Phone number is 892-4259.

Dr. Peter Brill: Well now, lets suppose someone was out there and they were wondering what treatments are available, you know, who to contact, what kind of support to get, do you provide that?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Contact your physician…

Dr. Peter Brill: Uh huh.

Dr. Loretta Redd: first of all.

Dr. Peter Brill: Okay.

Dr. Loretta Redd: You would need a thorough, I think you and I were talking earlier…

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.

Dr. Loretta Redd: thorough physical. There’re a lot of things that can mask as dementia and mask as Alzheimer’s which are reversible, so it’s really important to see your neurologist or your, or your geriatric physician or even just your family physician. And then, yes, there, there are many things that have to do with preparing for dementia, having the family prepared for dementia, the caregivers, looking at all the new ounces of care that you’ll need, protection on a financial and legal standpoints and working with multi generational issues in your family. You know, the caregiver so often turns out to be the adult child if you will…

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.

Dr. Loretta Redd: of the person, so that’s the sandwich generation we talk about…

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.

Dr. Loretta Redd: You’ve got kids to care for and now your parents to care for, so that group needs help with their stress and day to day living as well.

Dr. Peter Brill: And what do you do for them?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Well we have support groups. We have loads of information. We have very practical ways of helping you communicate with people with Alzheimer’s, practical steps of not to argue for instance and ways to change the tone of the conversation, troubling behaviors. We can also sign people up for a program called Safe Return, which is a bracelet or a piece of a necklace that you wear that can help the care, the people out in the Sheriff’s departments and police departments return you to the people that love you if you do wander and help the people that are caring for you locate you as well.

Dr. Peter Brill: I was just thinking they could put a little, eventually they’re going to put a little microchip in there, right?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Eventually GPS may just be the way to go…

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.

Dr. Loretta Redd: both for children and also for seniors.

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah, where’s mom?…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Yeah.

Dr. Peter Brill: just, you know, little scope.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Anyone who gets disoriented, it’s true.

David Debin: Are there two sides to this. I mean, in some peoples fantasy…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Mm hmm.

David Debin: the cocept of being in another world, not remembering certain things, almost as a pleasant feeling in a fantasy, I’m not saying that this is real, it, you know, you think, “Well, I’m not going to have the stresses that I have, I’m not going to have the worries that I have, and on the other hand of course there’s, there’s fear if you can’t remember stuff that replaces all the other stresses that you had, is there any, is there anything that you can find in Alzheimer’s that can be used almost in a positive way? I mean, is it all terribly horrible?

Dr. Loretta Redd: That’s a, that’s a fascinating statement you made. As the person with the diagnosis is gradually becoming more impaired, it is very frightening. They have the capacity if you will to have the awareness of their losses. Once you cross a certain threshold, there is no worry and there is no, there’s no tomorrow, there’s no yesterday. Some people call it almost the perfect Zen state.

David Debin: Yeah.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Sometimes it’s not as peaceful as others though. Sometimes there’re very troublesome behavior’s that, that are difficult to handle, and that’s one time that the stress then shifts to the caregivers…

David Debin: Uh huh.

Dr. Loretta Redd: because unlike the person with Alzheimer’s who has no worries and typically unless there’s a cofactor of a significant disorder physically, they live a long time.

David Debin: Mm hmm.

Dr. Loretta Redd: But the caregivers are the ones that then have to absorb the twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week concern and oversight of someone who is gradually returning to a state of infantilism.

David Debin: Right, it’s like having a two year old, I guess.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Exactly.

David Debin: And my daughter, my daughter has a two year old and I know what that’s like. You just can’t turn around without, without not knowing where the two year old is…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Exactly.

 or what’s, right.

Dr. Peter Brill: And this is a big two year old.

Dr. Loretta Redd: And it’s important to know that that’s not done intentionally, you know?

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.

Dr. Loretta Redd: And you’re looking at an adult and you’re thinking if they’re behaving this way they must have intention, but that’s not the case.

Dr. Peter Brill: Can, there’s, there are so many alternative medicine and, and folk remedies…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Mm hmm.

Dr. Peter Brill: and things out there…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Yeah, we’ve been through aluminum and…

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.

Dr. Loretta Redd: number of different things.

Dr. Peter Brill: I just want to ask about 2 or 3 of them…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Please.

Dr. Peter Brill: and see whether you have, ‘cause I know people out there, you know, go to their health food stores…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Mm hmm.

Dr. Peter Brill: eat their vitamins, you know.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Mm hmm.

Dr. Peter Brill: And, first is there anything we can, that’s just in general, is there anything people can do to prevent this disease?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Well one thing that we want to remind people is that your brain is an organ like any other organ, so things you do for your heart for instance are good for your brain. If you exercise it puts more oxygen and blood into your heart, it puts it in your brain as well. Exercising your brain, taking classes, learning a new language, do Suduku or crossword puzzles, all of those things, even if they don’t stave off Alzheimer’s, are good to keep you alert and fit and healthy brains are healthy hearts.

Dr. Peter Brill: But some of them have been correlated, some mental activity has been correlated with…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Indeed it has.

Dr. Peter Brill: delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s, right?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Mm hmm, yes.

Dr. Peter Brill: How about vitamin E, Cofactor 10…

Dr. Loretta Redd: You know, they’re studying…

Dr. Peter Brill: you know, Gincobiloba, whatever it is…

Dr. Loretta Redd: they’re studying all of that. We actually had a gentleman, Dr. Graves, who’s looking at, at cinnamon I believe or, yeah cinnamon and it’s relationship to…

Dr. Peter Brill: That’s a good one.

Dr. Loretta Redd: to diabetes…

Dr. Peter Brill: Oh.

Dr. Loretta Redd: and there’s a cofactor of diabetes in Alzheimer’s…

Dr. Peter Brill: In Alzheimer’s, sure.

Dr. Loretta Redd: because that has to do with the insulin production, so there’s a gentleman, Gil Rishdin down at Channel Island that’s studying a different spice, tumerik I think. So there’s a lot of very valuable and valid research going on with any number of different kinds…

Dr. Peter Brill: Anything promising at all, Vitamin E?

Dr. Loretta Redd: There, you know, again I’m going to refer you to, to the website…

Dr. Peter Brill: The website, okay.

Dr. Loretta Redd: But you can overdo anything…

Dr. Peter Brill: Yes.

Dr. Loretta Redd: There is no, if there was a cure I’d be announcing it, I’d be battling you for this microphone, so.

David Debin: Is retirement a cofactor for Alzheimer’s? No, I’m serious. You talk about give your brain exercise, you know, a lot of people who retire stop thinking other than, you know, what their golf score is.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Yes indeed. So staying mentally active and mentally, yes, mentally and physically active after, after retirement is extremely, extremely important.

Dr. Peter Brill: Alright, if you’re going to stay active, you’re going to have to keep listening to this show, especially if you want to live forever. So, we’ll be right back.

David Debin: We’re back with The Third Age. Thanks for staying with us. We’ve been having a fabulous discussion with Dr. Loretta Redd about Alzheimer’s and I’d like to as what’s going on with your organization?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Well the Alzheimer Association here locally covers Ventura, Santa Barbara, some parts of Kern County as well as Santa Barbara County, so an SLO, so we have things going on all the time, we just wrapped up or Memory Walk season with three of our biggest walks, that’s probably our most visible, visible nonprofit fundraiser, but in…

David Debin: What is that, the Memory Walk, how does that work?

Dr. Loretta Redd: The Memory Walk is like your Heart and Soul walks and things like that where people come out and they raise money for the organization and then we create a sea of purple shirts that go out on the walkway and, and they do a 5K walk for their families and their loved ones, carry banners in memory of different people and the caregivers get to come out, the professionals come out, it’s just phenomenal.

David Debin: Oh, it must be great for people…

Dr. Loretta Redd: It is.

David Debin: because there’s nothing better than being with someone who’s in your situation.

Dr. Loretta Redd: It is, and the other thing is, you know, this disease has a certain amount of embarrassment attached to it, so the more public we become with it, the less of a stigma it is.

David Debin: Why is it embarrassing?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Because it’s a loss of one’s mind and we translate that in our culture unfortunately to something that’s embarrassing or used to be.

Dr. Peter Brill: It’s shameful.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Shameful, yes.

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.

David Debin: So tell us more.

Dr. Loretta Redd: In January we are leaving here to go have a finalizing discussion with Friendship Center which is a daycare center in Montecito…

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.

Dr. Loretta Redd: We’re I think co producing a town hall meeting, which may be in the church across the street from the Friendship Center, and we’re looking forward to having three or four more panelists there, very notable professionals, Dr. Bob Harbaw, who is a local neurologist, Julian Dean from our office who is a family care consultant specialist, and a couple of other people that will speak to people whether they just have concerns about maintaining a very healthy brain all the way through advance stage and some hospice issues.

Dr. Peter Brill: So, do you need volunteers, do you need money, what do you need?

Dr. Loretta Redd: We, we need all the above. We, of course we can’t do our work without the generosity and contributions of families and individuals out there. This is getting to be the time of year where planned giving is a, is a thought and also end of year gifts, so we rely heavily on the community for that. All of our services are free. We never charge for a service and we hope never to have to. We are serving probably 30 thousand people now in the Central Coast area, and of those people who have Alzheimer’s we always include 1 to 2 caregivers because those are as important to us as parts of our outreach, so 60 to 90 thousand people come through or call someday.

Dr. Peter Brill: When you say you’re certain 60 to 90…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Mm hmm.

Dr. Peter Brill: what do you do for them?

Dr. Loretta Redd: We have a help line that’s a twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week help line that gives information, we do family care consultation in your home or in our offices or over the phone, we have a lending library, we have a wonderful book called What Now? that is available both online at our website which is centralcoastalz.org or you an come in and for $15 dollars get an actual hard copy of the, of the manual. We have a speakers bureau, all of our services are available in Spanish, and then on a national and local level we also do advocacy so that we can raise money for research and for care and bring, bring light to issues of care giving and education of caregivers.

Dr. Peter Brill: I’m out there and I’m wanting to talk to somebody about this. Will you talk to me?

Dr. Loretta Redd: I would, I’m talking to you now Dr. Brill, yeah.

Dr. Peter Brill: Would you talk to me please?

Dr. Loretta Redd: I will, I will. In fact I brought…

Dr. Peter Brill: No, I mean if I’m, you know…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Absolutely.

Dr. Peter Brill: a person, you know, out there, I’m concerned, I’ve heard this show. I just want someone to talk to. Can they call your organization?

Dr. Loretta Redd: I would invite them to call.

Dr. Peter Brill: How do they do that?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Our number is 892-4259.

Dr. Peter Brill: You want to do that again?

Dr. Loretta Redd: 892-4259 or centralcoastalz.org. If you can’t remember that just go to alz as in zebra dot org and that will patch you through to our local, local offices.

Dr. Peter Brill: You need volunteers, you need money and you’re there for people who (unintelligible).

Dr. Loretta Redd: Money and volunteers and for anyone who has a concern, come to our town hall. It will be in January, I don’t have the exact date, but January of next year, and come participate in our events. We’ve got a huge golf tournament coming up at the Montecito Country Club in June of next year.

Dr. Peter Brill: Now I understand you’re a golfer, I just learned this.

Dr. Loretta Redd: I am a golfer, yes, and most of the time I don’t want to remember my score.

Dr. Peter Brill: I know, I don’t ever remember mine.

David Debin: Loretta I’d like to ask you something personal. How and why were you called to this particular situation.

Dr. Loretta Redd: I actually am a frustrated neurologist. I always wanted to go into medicine and I didn’t. But my mother had a brain injury when I was 13, and I pretty much lost contact with her and it mimicked dementia. So that was a, that was a hard fall result, but I have a soft spot in my heart for sure for people that are struggling with cognitive loss.

David Debin: And how did you first become involved in the way that you are now?

Dr. Loretta Redd: I had a good friend who asked me to help the organizations board and through that I ended up being recruited as executive director and it’s been an honor and a pleasure ever since.

David Debin: Wow.

Dr. Peter Brill: But can I just take it a little broader than that ‘cause you work for a number of nonprofits…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Mm hmm.

Dr. Peter Brill: And we’re very interested in the stages of life and why people do things and…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Yes.

Dr. Peter Brill: and why they choose to work for nonprofits and what do they do with this stage of your life and, would it be fair to say you are in the third age?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Oh, absolutely…

Dr. Peter Brill: Okay.

Dr. Loretta Redd: I’m 59.

Dr. Peter Brill: Okay.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Uh huh.

Dr. Peter Brill: How did you, you did a whole series of nonprofits, what…

Dr. Loretta Redd: I have, I…

Dr. Peter Brill: All your life, ever since the army?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Well, it was the Air Force…

Dr. Peter Brill: Air Force, okay. We’re you flying jets?

Dr. Loretta Redd: No, I was actually grounding people, I was chief of mental health for a security service.

Dr. Peter Brill: Oh, okay.

Dr. Loretta Redd: I started off in psychology and worked with young people that had terminal illness, so I’ve always had sort of a medicinal side, you know, intrigue. Then I got involved with a group that provided home meal services to people with HIV and AIDS, and because of my terminal illness background, I also worked with people with HIV.

Dr. Peter Brill: Now there’s the big change.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Mm hmm, the shift.

Dr. Peter Brill: What’s that change, why did….

Dr. Loretta Redd: From for profit to not for profit?

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah, or from Air Force to, I don’t know if they’re for profit, do you make money, I mean the Air Force makes money?

Dr. Loretta Redd: Well, I’m not going there right now, not during this administration. But, yeah, you know, you just sort of follow your heart, and I’ve always enjoyed educating and helping people, so it’s been interesting that as I’ve gotten older my interest group has gotten older as well. Yeah.

David Debin: Well Peter, we have a nonprofit, and we can vouch for the fact that it is a nonprofit. We’ve been nonprofitable since the very….

Dr. Loretta Redd: You specialize in not making money.

David Debin: Actually we specialize in putting in money as opposed to not making money, but, you know, there is nothing more rewarding than doing something for people and trying to, trying to be there in some way, shape or form as a spiritual moral psychological anything, kind of support, kind of help, kind of share whatever the pain is, whatever the joy is, right? Isn’t that, isn’t that what this is all about?

Dr. Loretta Redd: We like to say that the Alzheimer’s Association doesn’t exist because you have a need, it exists because we meet a need.

Dr. Peter Brill: Yeah.

David Debin: Yes.

Dr. Loretta Redd: And, you know, it’s a, there’s so many wonderful and capable and worthy nonprofits in Santa Barbara and in this area, but they’re also wonderful and generous people and we need your help and, so we can help others, and not only those with Alzheimer’s but those who care for them.

David Debin: Okay, so call Dr. Redd, call the, call the foundation and maybe you’ll be doing something for yourself in the long run as well as others.

Dr. Loretta Redd: Indeed.

Dr. Peter Brill: Dr. Loretta Redd, I want to thank you so much for joining us today…

Dr. Loretta Redd: Dr. Brill, thank you.

Dr. Peter Brill: Thank you for your caring and David as well.

Dr. Peter Brill: We’ll be right back.

David Debin: You’re back with The Third Age on radio here. We’ve been having a really, believe it or not, we’ve had a fabulous time with Dr. Redd talking about Alzheimer’s and even though it’s, you know, that big no-no in, you know, in the future, present for many people, it’s really good to hear, you know, to hear facts, to hear, to know about it, to face up to the fact that this is something that exists and we have to deal with it in one way or another.

Dr. Peter Brill: You know the thing that I just keep coming back to David, we’ve now done, I think, I looked today, it was a hundred…

David Debin: A hundred and?

Dr. Peter Brill: and 26th show…

David Debin: Mm hmm.

Dr. Peter Brill: We’ve probably had a hundred people on the show, a hundred different experts from a hundred different fields and a hundred different approaches…

David Debin: Mm hmm.

Dr. Peter Brill: And they all come down, at least in part, I mean they all have individual areas that they’re, but at least in part that as you age you’ve got to keep your social system intact…

David Debin: Mm hmm.

Dr. Peter Brill: You’ve got to keep using your brain, you kind of use it or lose it…

David Debin: Mm hmm.

Dr. Peter Brill: You know, like any organ, you know, exercise it and it gets stronger, that the quality of your life and quality of your wellness and your health make a huge difference as you age, that your mental outlook about what aging is makes a huge difference as you age. You know, there are just many, and this is why we do these groups, right?

David Debin: But this is what’s going on, this is what this culture is about unfortunately…

Dr. Peter Brill: Yes.

David Debin: This culture is about instant gratification, so if it’s instantly gratifying to sit on the couch, watch TV and eat some ice cream, that’s what in, that’s what we’ve been trained to do…

Dr. Peter Brill: Yup.

David Debin: And it’s not necessarily instantly gratifying to go out there and walk for, you know, a couple of miles, or, you know, unless you train yourself to be gratified by that. But don’t just take the easy way because the easy way, it’s like, it’s like the fact that we’re all in debt and this country’s, the country’s in debt it’s because nobody took the, nobody decided, everyone wanted instant gratification for everything, and now we’re going to have to pay for it.

Dr. Peter Brill: Well the other side of the coin is we have to learn to esteem people as they age. This society has to change the way we view aging. Anyway we’ve been working on this, we have groups that meet about this…

David Debin: Mm hmm.

Dr. Peter Brill: 969-9794 or you can find them on the web at www.third, t h i r d agefoundation dot com. (www.thirdagefoundation.com)

David Debin: And don’t forget to email us if you have any suggestions or if you want any information, but if you want to tell us what we’re doing wrong and what we’re doing right, you can email us…

Dr. Peter Brill: Or if you have a story you want to tell or you want to make a comment about today’s show or some other show, we’ll read some on the air if they come in that we find particularly poignant. We’d like to hear from you. We honestly would, we’d like to hear what you’re thinking about, what’s on your mind, what would you like to have us do shows on, any of it, just email us. Is anybody out there? Can you….

David Debin: “Is there anybody out there”, isn’t that Pink Floyd?

Marisa Scovasi: Pink Floyd, yeah.

David Debin: Marisa how does that go?

Marisa Scovasi: “Is there anybody out”, no I’m so bad.

David Debin: “Is there anybody out there?” Okay, Marisa?

Marisa Scovasi: Yes?

David Debin: We haven’t checked in with you today…

Dr. Peter Brill: Yes.

David Debin: you didn’t get a chance to say anything…

Marisa Scovasi: Knock-knock, no…

David Debin: What do you think, what’s your, from your point of view from the second age or on the cusp of the first and second age, what does Alzheimer’s look to you?

Marisa Scovasi: Well, I haven’t really thought that far in advance, but just going back to what you guys talked about, getting older and your memory losing, I wonder if a lot of that is just you like physically like kind of handicapping yourself, thinking, “Oh, I’ve just lost my memory ‘cause I’m old”, rather than, ‘cause I forget all the time, but I don’t really equate it to my age or anything like that, so I’m just wondering, you know, maybe when you do…

Dr. Peter Brill: Good point.

Marisa Scovasi: like lose your memory, don’t really equate it to your age, just equate it to, you know, it just happens and then after that maybe you won’t like cognitively impair yourself.

Dr. Peter Brill: Good point.

David Debin: Yeah.

Marisa Scovasi: I think that’s like something that you should…

Dr. Peter Brill: Take a positive attitude and work on it.

Marisa Scovasi: Yeah, positive is the way to go, that’s what I’ve learned.

David Debin: Right, and Dr. Redd said it’s, sometimes if you’re looking for a word, well I find myself more than ever, you know, looking for that, because I’m a writer, that specific word, and sometimes it takes a while to get it, but I don’t tell myself it’s because I’m getting older, I think I just tell myself because it slipped somewhere, you know?

Marisa Scovasi: Yeah.

Dr. Peter Brill: (unintelligible), Marisa Scovasi and Lisa will be back next week.