In a series of raw and moving tweets, comedienne Kathy Griffin yesterday shared the news that her mother Maggie Griffin has dementia. The two starred together on the reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List.
Griffin said September was the last time, “I was able to have a proper/coherent conversation with her.” Talking about what a sharp mind her mother once exhibited, she said, “Watching that slip away so fast has been devastating.”
B) Since that photo was taken, she has rapidly fallen into the throes of dementia. This is never easy for any child, I know this is a reality that millions of people deal with every year. But when it comes to my mom this is particularly hard because her sharp mind was everything.— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) January 3, 2019
An estimated 5.7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. Caring for a family member with dementia can be particularly challenging both physically and emotionally. Often caregivers have little understanding of the disease and no training. A Neuroscience News article highlighted research that found the general public had a limited understanding of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. When celebrities share their experiences it helps raise awareness of the impact dementia has on both patients and caregivers.
Griffin is one of several celebrities who have shared their eldercare experiences publicly. Seth Rogan founded the Hilarity for Charity event to help raise funds and awareness for Alzheimers based on his experience with his mother-in-law. Rob Lowe, although not a dementia caregiver, is working on a campaign in support of family caregivers with EMD Serono and EmbracingCarers.com, based on his experience caring for his mother with breast cancer. While celebrities often have the means to hire nurses and aides around the clock, to retrofit homes to accommodate sick family members, or pay for specialists that non-celebrities cannot afford, their emotional experiences are relatable and their stories give voice to the family caregiver experience.
We wish both Maggie and Kathy well.