Celebrities Who Have Been Touched by Alzheimer’s

Many celebrities who have been touched by Alzheimer’s have used their influence to help raise awareness about this disease, promote greater research funding and support families caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s.

Celebrities who Have Been Touched by Alzheimer's

The sixth leading cause of death in the United States, Alzheimer’s disease has no cure and its causes are not yet fully understood. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, deaths from Alzheimer’s increased 68% between 2000 and 2010, while deaths from other major diseases decreased.

Celebrities Who Help Raise Alzheimer’s Awareness

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than five million Americans, and it does not discriminate. From actors to sports figures to politicians, many well-known figures have suffered Alzheimer’s or watched a loved one deal with its effects. Many of those celebrities have chosen to speak out about the debilitating consequences of Alzheimer’s disease, spearheading efforts to raise awareness of the disease and lending their names to charitable causes that help fund research and support caregivers.

Here is a list of celebrities whose lives have been touched by Alzheimer’s:

Stone Phillips

Stone Phillips Touched by Alzheimer'sFormer network news correspondent and anchor Stone Phillips filmed and produced Moving With Grace, a documentary about his aging parents — a father with chronic heart problems and a mother with dementia. The film follows the couple as their adult children help them transition from their family home to a retirement community and eventually to assisted living. Phillips made the film because he “wanted to capture [his mother] before her dementia became too advanced.” He encourages others in his situation to do the same, saying: “Take out your phone, do some interviews, get some video. It’s precious to have.”

Candy Crowley

Candy Crowley Touched by Alzheimer'sCNN’s chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley recently shared the story of her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s at the 2014 Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum. She told personal anecdotes about her mother’s decline, describing signs the family missed. When it comes to approaching lawmakers, Crowley emphasizes the importance of sharing personal stories “about the person you’re losing and what it’s done to your life.” She adds, “The story is what moves [Congress]… Whatever it is you’re thinking you don’t want to talk about is probably what you should say.”

Carey Mulligan

Carey Mulligan Touched by Alzheimer'sBritish actress Carey Mulligan has been an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society since 2012. In that role, she has supported the charity on a number of campaigns and projects, most recently the Run to the Beat half marathon that takes place in London. When Mulligan was a teenager, her grandmother was diagnosed with dementia. She discusses how the Alzheimer’s Society helped her family understand dementia and guided them through her grandmother’s care. Mulligan says, “I hope to do all I can to help defeat dementia… By speaking about my grandmother’s dementia I hope to shine a light on the condition.”

Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen Touched by Alzheimer'sAddressing Congress this past February, Seth Rogen explained how he learned the “ugly truth” of the disease having watched early-onset Alzheimer’s take its toll on his mother-in-law. Her condition started as minor memory lapses but advanced to a point where she forgot loved ones, how to speak, how to feed and dress herself, and, eventually, how to go to the bathroom, all by age 60. Together with his wife, Lauren Miller, and some friends, Rogen established Hilarity for Charity as part of the National Alzheimer’s Association to raise money for families struggling with Alzheimer’s care, educate the public and support cutting-edge Alzheimer’s research.


Sharing Alzheimer’s Stories

Celebrities telling their personal stories about Alzheimer’ disease, gives voices to their loved ones battling the debilitating effects of the disease. Ideally, their efforts will not only raise awareness but help reduce the shame attached to Alzheimer’s and inspire the next generation to do what it can to support efforts for a cure.

Do you have a personal Alzheimer’s story? Has a celebrity’s  story helped shape your perspective of Alzheimer’s disease? Share your story with us in the comments below.

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Please leave your thoughts and comments

  • Veronica Smith

    Yes, This disease has afflicted my mother-in-law, Judy Smith. My father-in-law Donald Smith is her main caregiver but all five of her beautiful children support as caregivers and consider it an honor to do this for the both of them. The true irony to this very special loving couple was that not only were they high school sweethearts but continued their education together through college at NW Christian college and graduated with their bachelor’s degree in Theology. Both are ordained minsters. Later, the were married and have ministered to various churches for the past 60 years. During their time in the ministry and Judy being a pastors wife. Judy went into nursing school and received her RN certification and was employed by hospitals, specialty in home care, and aging communities. Judy, later continued her studies in gerontology (study of aging) and received her master’s with an emphasis on Alzheimer Disease. Not only was she voted Nurse of the Year but became an expert in the disease that she is not afflicted with. There is much more history on her career as a nurse but the story of this very special couple is needed to be told. They are both 81 years of age and just celebrated their 60 wedding anniversary. Amazing! my son, just made a cover video, a tribute to this wonderful couple but also focusing on Alzheimer Disease. Being it is Alzheimer Awareness month in October, he wanted to share the love and respect he has for them and many are being touched and inspired by their journey. I will try to put the link here for you., if I cannot link it. You can look in You Tube, Austin Reed Music and the song he is singing is Amazing Grace. This is one of Judy’s favorite songs. We have her videotaped watching the video, not sure she knows it’s her grandson but she knew the words to song and was singing.

    • realitycheck

      Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story

  • Amy Dawn

    Carol is 68 and living with Dementia. Shes is my best friend, my hero, and my mom. My mom and dad gave me a good life as a kid and when my dad died on my 22nd bday I knew that my mom would be with me, not with my brother or sister-I am so grateful to have her with me and my family. She makes our lives so much brighter. Both my husband and myself left careers behind to be with her around the clock although it was suggested we put her in a home. Never would I let that happen. Its tough and sad but the good times outweigh the bad times–shes a fighter for sure! Shes had her bags packed for Hawaii for 3 months and expecting to leave soon. Its the one thing that isnt scrammble in her mind. She wants that trip to Hawaii. Does anyone have info on places that can help us give my mom this trip that she wants so badly? We are a family of 5 living on a 1 person salary and are fine with that but I feel like I am letting her down if I dont take her, please help Carol get to Hawaii

    • caitlinburm

      Hi Amy,

      Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story with us about your family and your mother who is living with dementia.

      Our partner website, A Place for Mom, has a resource that you might find helpful when looking into traveling with your mom to Hawaii: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/8-24-15-planes-canes-and-automobiles-interview-valerie-grubb/

      We will be thinking of you and wishing you all the best during this time!

    • realitycheck

      Hi Amy,
      My name is Daphney and my mom is suffering from Alz., and my dad is her primary caregiver. I started a Giveforward fundraiser for the both of them. I haven’t raised a whole lot of money but every penny counts. I sure hope your mom gets to Hawaii

    • Norman Duncan

      Contact your Congress person who can check with the Hawaiian delegation Norman Duncan

  • John

    Hi Amy and Daphney,

    Were you able to find the help you need ?
    Please let me know as I am in Hawaii and might be able to do some “ground work” on this end for you both.

    FYI: I work with a group of cognitive scientists who developed a cognitive test for the US Dept. of Defense. A prototype for consumers is being developed now and will be able to track any variances in cognition. If you like, I can provide the application to you at no cost.
    With Aloha,

  • sfg4u

    My mom had Alzheimer’s and passed over two years ago. We found very little help for children who are watching a loved one with dementia. LOL I write “niche” children’s books on sensitive stories for tough topics called the Explain It To Me! series. My daughter-in-law and I have written books on infant loss, limb loss and two on surrogacy, but I just couldn’t bear to write one on Alzheimers . . . until now!

    My Grandma Rose: Alzheimer’s and Dementia from a Middle Schooler’s Perspective just came out this week and takes young ones through the seven stages of Alzheimer’s. They learn about memory care, hospice, palliative care, death and the importance of sharing their feelings with someone to help them through the pain. It is truthful but not scary.

    Anyone with a story inside, take the time you need, but sit down and write it — even if you don’t publish it, it is cathartic.

    Love and hugs to all!

    Kim Roman

  • Emily Page

    I published a book called Fractured Memories: Because Demented People Need Love, Too. It features 40 paintings and recounts my family’s hilarious and heartbreaking journey through my dad’s dementia. I’m hoping it’ll help remind everyone – not just caregivers or people with loved ones who suffer from dementia – to look for the laughter hiding amidst the pain. You can find it at http://shop.emilypageart.com/products/fractured-memories (my favorite way), or on Amazon!

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