As the nation and the rest of the world said good-bye to Ronald Reagan, they're remembering more than the legacy he left behind, but the doors he and his family helped open to a better understanding of Alzheimer's disease.
Tom McGough of the Alzheimer's Resource Center, said, "Ten years ago we started getting phone calls from people concerned about their own memory and that was a new phenomenon locally and also more calls from people who were seeing some of those symptoms."
After Reagan's announcement, the Alzheimer's Research Center, located within the Tallahassee Senior Center, also noticed that more people were starting to talk about the disease.
Pat Ashley, who organizes Alzheimer's support groups, says, "For a long time people didn't talk publicly about the idea that their family had Alzheimer's."
Through the Alzheimer's Center, these ladies all once caregivers to loved ones suffering from the disease came together in support groups to heal. They say Reagan's passing is giving them more of a sense of closure.
Anne Thurmond cared for her mother who had Alzheimer's. She says, "It helped me knowing that I wasn't alone that people all over the nation and world are dealing with this."
And next to spreading awareness about Alzheimer's. It's the strength of fellow caregiver Nancy Reagan they can't help but to admire.
Eloise Crum cared for her father who had Alzheimer's. She says, "But, I think she said it all wrapped up in one word was that it's a long good-bye and that's what it is, a very long good-bye."
The Tallahassee Senior Center is holding a "rock the house" dance Saturday night to raise money for the Alzheimer's Research Center's respite program. That starts at 6 p.m. and tickets are $15.
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