Laura Dawahare

Play Helps Families and Caregivers See Both Sides of Alzheimer's Disease

Published: Aug 20, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 20, 2014) -- Last Saturday, one family struggled to accept that their father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. 

 

This family is luckier than others, however.  They are the fictional characters in "Forget Me Not," a play written by Garrett Davis to raise awareness about Alzheimer's disease and provide comfort and support for caregivers, particularly in underserved communities where health disparities exist. 

 

University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) brought the play to a full house at the Lyric Theatre in Lexington on Aug. 16.

 

We saw the play at a conference in San Diego, and we were immediately drawn to it as a resource for community outreach," said Dr. Gregory Jicha, an associate professor at Sanders-Brown.

 

"The play is not only an entertaining way to make more people aware of the disease, but also educates people about the need to take action -- and one way to do that is to participate in research."

 

See video

 

Davis wrote the play as a tribute to his grandmother, who died of Alzheimer's disease when he was in college, and to all the family members who cared for her.

 

"She had Alzheimer's, and it was terrible watching her fade away.  When we see our loved ones at their worst, we tend to push ourselves into seclusion, out of fear or worry or both, at exactly the time when we should quit hiding and actively seek help."

 

"I wrote this play so that caregivers might recognize themselves in the characters onstage, and perhaps get ahead of the curve and develop a support network not just for their loved one, but also for themselves."

 

Alzheimer's disease is incurable and irreversible,  It is the most common cause of dementia in older adults, and more than 500.000 Americans die from AD each year.  African Americans are usually diagnosed with the disease at a later stage, limiting the effectiveness of early intervention. Blacks are about two times more likely and Hispanics are about one and a half times more likely than their white counterparts to have Alzheimer's and other dementia. Of the estimated 5.4 million people living with the disease, two-thirds are women.

 

Davis describes "Forget Me Not" as one leg of a three-legged stool. "There are three plays in the trilogy," he explains.  "'Forget Me Not' is intended to raise awareness about Alzheimer's disease. 'Mama's Girls' is part two -- its focus is on caregiving for someone with Alzheimer's. And the third play -- 'A Woman's Gotta Do' -- addresses finances, which is an important but overlooked part of the disease."

 

Davis felt particularly compelled to bring his message to the African American community, whose culture embraces the concept that caring for a sick loved one is a personal -- rather than a shared -- responsibility.

 

"We need to understand that we can care for Grandma without losing our own identity or neglecting our own families," Davis says.

 

Jicha stayed after the play for a Q&A session with attendees. There, he stressed repeatedly the need for participation in medical research, particularly among African Americans. 

 

"At Sanders-Brown alone there are many, many studies exploring treatments that may prevent disease, cure disease, or at a minimum slow down its progress," Jicha says.  "But without volunteers -- both with the disease and without -- we can't get enough data to determine whether these treatments really work." 

 

"If people recognize these issues and how close we are to making tremendous strides in curing Alzheimer's, they should join the fight and make a difference."

 

 

forgetmenot.jpg
September
 
 
1
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Receive 80% Refund
Suicide Prevention: Raising Awareness & Sharing Our Stories
Welcome Coffee
Game Show
Tue
2
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wed
3
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Rosemary's Baby
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Pitch Perfect 2
Adjusting to College
Adjusting to College
Kickoff Football Season Grill Out
Thu
4
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Akira
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Whiplash
To Live in the Borderlands: A Household Perspective on Frontier Politics from the Middle Jequetepeque Valley, Peru
Fri
5
Go Swing Dancing!
Sat
6
 
Sun
7
Labor Day
Mon
8
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Ivory Tower
Tue
9
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wed
10
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Selena
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Jurassic World
Adjusting to College
Terrace Time Out
Thu
11
The Late Night Film Series Presents - The Great Beauty
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Predator
Friday Swing Dance Lessons - Free!
Friday Swing Dance Lessons - Free!
Accounting Internship & Career Fair
Fri
12
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Sculptors On Paper
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Sat
13
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Sun
14
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Superhero
Mon
15
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Women's Forum Board Meeting
Southern Sirens Concert
Tue
16
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Wed
17
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Adjusting to College
Thu
18
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Dark Girls
The Late Night Film Series Presents - The Pokémon Movie
LexPhil Pre-Concert Buffet
Curator Tour with Stuart Horodner
Fri
19
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Sat
20
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
LexHop
Sun
21
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Finger Painting
Mon
22
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Tue
23
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Last Day to Receive 50% Refund
Thank-A-Donor Day
2 Day Business Internship & Career Fair
Pinterest Party I
Wed
24
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
2 Day Business Internship & Career Fair
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Wild Tales
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Mad Max: Fury Road
Adjusting to College
Thu
25
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
The Late Night Film Series Presents - All.I.Can
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Nightcrawler
Fri
26
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Arts Writing Workshop
Sat
27
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Sun
28
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Mandala
Mon
29
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Kitty Karnival
Tue
30
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wed
 
 
 
Sep 02
Wildcat Wellness Meditation 09/02/2015

Repeats every week until Thu Dec 10 2015 except Thu Nov 26 2015.
Thu, 09/03/2015

Repeats every week until Thu Sep 24 2015 .
Thu, 09/03/2015

Reset Page