Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Which Magazine Gets It Right?

Last Sunday's Parade Magazine (November 21, 2010) has an article called "Unlocking the Silent Prison" by Christine Wicker. Ms. Wicker reports on work that focuses on what alzheimer patients can do rather than what they cannot do. Speech-pathology professor Michelle B. Bourgeois in the 1980s started creating memory albums and sentences to go along with pictures. The reason?
Spoken words literally go through one ear and out the other. Patients understand, but they can't store the memory. That's why they ask the same question again and again.  
Bourgeois also advises to write things down. I notice my husband likes to do that--write down when I will be home, for example, and also he checks with our large FlyLady calendar. He likes to label things around the house. Boureois is also quoted saying:
We find that if caregivers aren't stressed and in a hurry, if the patient is well cared for, and if they feel safe and in a good environment, they think their lives are good.
The picture with the article shows a sign "MOM--IT'S SUSAN."

Another magazine came to our house this week--AARP for December. At the top of the cover is "Exclusive Personal Portraits of Alzheimer's" and for a moment I thought AARP, The Magazine, might do something right. (AARP the supplemental insurance and prescription "help" have been fired for 2011.)  NOT SO WITH THE DECEMBER ISSUE OF AARP.

The photographer Gregg Segal just exploits real people with pictures from The Alzheimer's Photography Project.You can see the complete slide show at AARP's Alzheimer's Pictures. I will contact the young editor, N. P. Graham, with my thoughts on this exploitation. Is AARP, The Magazine, about exploiting old people as AARP, The Insurance and Prescription supplement is!!!!


  1. Dear Nancy Perry Graham,

    How does the exploitation of ALzheimer's patients with their pictures contribute
    towards the lives of seniors with dementia? I contrasted your magazine article
    with the very helpful "Unlocking the Silent Prison" from Sunday's Parade
    magazine. I do not even see a sympathetic statement on ALzheimer's in your
    December issue.

  2. Heard back from Sivamani at AARP magazine: "We are determined to make our publications as fair-minded, comprehensive, educational and entertaining as possible. Our belief is that the greatest benefit we can provide our readers is sound, credible and useful information. If you feel we're slipping in that regard, we hope you won't hesitate to let us know. Again, we
    appreciate your interest our publications and thank you for taking the time to write. Again, we appreciate your interest and thank you for writing us." She gave me more input on where to voice my concerns. Glad I got a response!

  3. I saw the slideshow per your link. It seems to highlight what they've lost by showing what they used to look like and contrasting it to how lonely and forsaken they look today. So sad. I'm so far outside your experience right now, I'm not sure that I'm seeing what you are seeing. Did I hit the nail on the head or is it more about the slideshow that angers you?

  4. I have never been real happy with aarp. Mom used to pay them $50 a month for insurance and they paid a whole $4 dollars on one of her bills. I had her cancel it as soon as I saw that.

  5. Thanks Karen and Charlene. We are going with another insurance plan in January and I will write about the difference in 2011. Yes, Charlene, the slide show hightlights the work of a photographer, but does exploit Alzheimer patients and I am not sure the AARP editor really addressed my concerns. I will let it go for now, realizing that AARP has values that are different from ours. Meanwhile Parade has so much more to say in using the abilities of Alzheimer's patients.

  6. I read the Parade article - very interesting! Sad to hear that about the AARP. That's great that you contacted them to voice your concerns!

  7. Good to hear that you had a response from AARP. Right now I'm really ignorant on the subject of Medicare and Insurance.....I'm promising myself to start educating myself next week.
    Thanks for the information you've provided.

  8. I have a problem with AARP on so many fronts that I resigned my membership years ago. They don't represent me!

    We joined the Christian Seniors' Association. For Steve's medicare, I selected CareMore, but they may only be in CA.

    Since we belong to the Automobile Club and I still have retired teacher health benefits, AARP has notning to offer me.