by Sandy White

You’ve heard it quietly whispered in families, that favorite aunt, uncle, parent, or grandparent is changing, they’re not the same. Something is different, you can’t put your finger on it, but you just know something is not right. You lean on your faith and try to catch your breath, as you accept the startling fact that your love one is as, they say… going ‘senile.’

But what does that really mean? Do YOU know? Ignorance is bliss and it’s also deadly. 

Once confronted with a diagnosis of dementia which is a progressive fatal cognitive disease, a sense of hopelessness and despair follows.

I want you to know, you are not alone.  I understand this pain as a former caregiver. I can tell you, faith, grace and education kept me. It can help you too! 

Today, I am putting my tears to work in honor of those who cannot speak for themselves, I am an advocate on a mission as a member of the Board of Directors of the Alzheimer’s Association of WNY.  

Did you know African-Americans are about twice as likely as older white Americans to live with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, but less likely to get a diagnosis from a doctor? This results in disparities in access to information, care, and support.

One researcher told me that by the time many people of color get tested they are so far gone, many are demented. It’s heartbreaking. I know we all can do more to educate one another; that’s why I ask you to pass the word and join the Alzheimer’s Association of WNY for an important virtual education series. 

This series started Sept. 3 and will run through Oct. 1, 2020, with national and community leaders talking about caregiving in the Black community and the importance of healthy living and diversity in research

The series is FREE but you must register for the link to attend the online programs at or call 1-800-272-3900.

 Please join us!! Get that knowledge!

The remaining schedule:

* SEPT. 24: Pastor Angela Stewart, MRE, BSHR, Metropolitan United Methodist Church; Pastor Betty Pierce-Williams, MATS, MAOL, Assistant Pastor, Elim Christian Fellowship, Director, Pastoral Care Ministry; and Ms. Brenda Favor of Friendship Baptist Church. They will take part in a panel discussion about the role of faith in dementia caregiving.

*OCT. 1: Local resources and tips for healthy living, presented by care consultants with the WNY Alzheimer’s Association.

This program is supported by a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.

Contributing Writer Sandy White