Posted by Jeff Benson on Apr 02, 2019
Our guest today was our exchange student, Maria Klakegg.
The Gold Plate Dinner is on April 12th.  It’s extremely important that you get your tickets, sold or unsold, to Bev Aplikowski ASAP!  She also needs your and your guests’ dinner choices.  We’re a little behind last year’s pace on ticket sales and sponsorships, so keep beating the bushes for potential attendees and donors.
President Cindy Carlson made us aware of the Northeast Youth and Family Services (NYFS) Leadership Luncheon on May 1st at Midland Hills.  Cindy would love to have you at her table, so let her know if you can join her.
Nicole Ulrich reminded us that the Benedictine Gala is on May 17th at St John’s.  Talk to Nicole if you would like to attend this great event.
Cindy reminded us that our noon meeting on April 30th will be off-site at St. John’s for the Community Support Center (CSC) Annual Luncheon.  We are a founding organization of CSC so it’s great to be able to show our support the great work they do in our community.
Dave Hoel reminded us that we are all needed to stuff Easter Eggs at the Exchange, 11AM, on April 14th.  All Rotarians are also asked to be at Driftwood Park by 10AM on Saturday, April 20th to set up for the Egg Hunt.
Amy Janecek reported that today is A.C.T. day for all juniors at Irondale.  She also gave us a preview of the planned renovations at Irondale which include updates to the school offices, mechanical infrastructure and a new 650 seat auditorium!
Ed James said that our Feed My Starving Children event will be on May 28th from 8-930PM.  He also noted that volunteers are still needed for our Fourth Grade Foresters Tree Giveaway on Thursday, April 11th.  Give Ed a call or sign up at next week’s noon meeting.   Ed also needs a few more people to read the applications for our at-large scholarship.  We will also need one more host family for next year’s inbound exchange student from Japan.
Happy Bucks Highlights:
·         Amy Janecek was happy to travel to Charleston and Savannah recently.
·         Margaret Johnson travelled to Taiwan to be with her family for the funeral of her father and was happy to find a break in her busy schedule to attend Rotary today.
·         Bev Aplikowski was happy that her son is involved in the remodeling project at Irondale.
·         Cindy Carlson was happy about her trip to Mexico with girlfriends.
·         Nicole Ulrich was happy to be in Armenia recently to visit family.
·         Nicole offered another dollar for a great prenatal checkup (she’s due Sept. 6th).  She played a recording of the baby’s heartbeat…a strong 145 beats per minute.
·         Paul Fournier was happy to have had a successful pacemaker test.  He got his heart rate set to 80 beats per minute (65 beats per minute less than Nicole’s baby’s heart rate!)
·         Garry Johnson was happy to be done with kitchen remodeling after a water leak did major damage.  He was also very happy to have spent some quality time with his grandson.
Paul Fournier introduced his wife, and today’s speaker, Chrissy.  Chrissy’s topic was Alzheimer’s Disease.  Her knowledge of Alzheimer’s comes from personal experience dealing with her mother Helen’s struggle with the disease.  Chrissy’s mother was her role model; a capable and vivacious single parent and career woman who seemed to be able to tackle any challenge that life offered.  But around the time of Helen’s 70th birthday, Chrissie began to notice some changes in Helen’s ability to manage routine tasks.  These subtle signs were stage1 of Alzheimer’s, Mild Cognitive Impairment.  As the disease progressed to Stage 2, Mild Alzheimer’s Dementia, Helen was less able to manage driving and other complex tasks, but still able to function reasonably well.  At stage 3, Moderate Alzheimer’s Dementia, Helen had much more difficulty with basic tasks and driving was a real problem.  Helen’s failure to recognize her only daughter was heartbreaking for Chrissy.  Chrissy was relieved to find excellent care for Helen at Ebenezer.   At this point Chrissy had the revelation that she could decide how to respond to her mother’s situation rather than simply reacting to her mother’s declining capabilities.  This made it easier for her to cope with the oncoming stage 4 or Severe Alzheimer’s Dementia.  By engaging with the Alzheimer’s Association and educating herself about Alzheimer’s, she found a way forward to cope with the terror, confusion and eventual loss of mental and, finally, physical abilities that accompany this final stage of the disease. 
Chrissy revealed that by 2025, 7.1 million people will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and that two thirds o f those over 65 will have the disease.  It is currently the 6th leading cause of death for adults
Many of you will remember that Chrissy spoke to us a few years ago about the book that she had written about her experiences with her mother’s Alzheimer’s disease.  That book was titled after her mother’s favorite song, “On the Sunny Side of the Street”.    Chrissy’s publisher urged her to update the book and she has made significant changes to the book, including many of her mother’s writings as well.  The book has been re-titled and published under the title “The Unexpected” which seems like an apt title for a book about a caregiver’s experiences with Alzheimer’s Disease.  Chrissy’s new book is available on Amazon.  She and Paul are pictured below.