She raised her son and daughter right. Now, they're taking care of her.
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Ad Council + AARP

At age 92, Lulu Lancaster has lost most of her short-term memory.

Her children, Patty and Justin, have become her caregivers, and as Patty says, "We've had to kind of become her memory."

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GIF via Ad Council/YouTube.

Caregiving for adults with Alzheimer's and other dementias is increasingly something that adults who have aging parents are faced with.

Some of the numbers, from the Alzheimer's Association:

  • 5.3 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's disease in 2015, most of them are 65 or older.
  • Almost 2/3 of Americans with Alzheimer's are women.
  • In 2014, friends and family of people with Alzheimer's and other dementias provided an estimated 17.9 billion hours of unpaid care, which is estimated to be worth $217.7 billion. That's almost eight times the total revenue of McDonald's in 2013.
  • About 40% of Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers suffer from depression

As a caregiver or concerned family member, what should you look for if you suspect Alzheimer's or other dementia?

Alzheimer's actually starts in the brain before there are any signs, so detecting it usually happens in the early or moderate stages. You can find some additional screening questions by visiting the Alzheimer's Association and AARP.

Here is some useful information on the various stages:

Early-stage

  • Not being able to come up with some words or names
  • Increasingly losing objects that are needed to function: keys, wallet, etc.
  • Trouble planning or organizing things, trouble thinking ahead
  • Forgetting the month or year

Moderate

Typically the longest stage, it can last years. Some of the signs are:

  • Confusing words, getting frustrated or angry, and refusing to perform routine tasks, such as bathing.
  • Withdrawing from social situations because they're overwhelming
  • Being unable to decide where they are or what day it is
  • Increased risk of wandering off or getting lost
  • Personality changes, like becoming suspicious, having delusions, becoming compulsive
  • Inability to recall their phone number or address

Late-stage (Severe)

  • Inability to react or respond to their environment
  • Losing the capability to carry on a conversation
  • Eventually, an inability to control even muscular movements, such as those required to walk, sit, swallow, etc.
  • At this stage, susceptibility to infection increases dramatically

People with late-stage Alzheimer's can even get confused about what time of day it is, sleeping during the day and being awake at night.

This is the stage that requires full-time care, 24/7, and that's why Patty and Justin became Lulu's caregivers.

However, this stage is also when family members can no longer be the primary caregivers, especially if they have their own familial demands or a job that doesn't allow time off.

It's also the time when caregiver burnout is a high risk; the emotional and physical toll can be too much.

Frequently, this is the time when the loved one must be moved to full-time care, such as a nursing home or a facility for memory care or alzheimer's.

For someone like Lulu, having her son and daughter around to help navigate this time in her life is priceless.

The bond that she shares with her children is becoming ever more solid as they go through it with her. Listen to their story:

Courtesy of The Commit Partnership
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For Festus Oyinwola, a 19-year-old first-generation college student from Dallas, Texas, the financial burden of attending college made his higher education dreams feel like a faraway goal.

As his high school graduation neared, Oyinwola feared he would have to interrupt his educational pursuits for at least a year to save up to attend college.

That changed when Oyinwola learned of the Dallas County Promise, a new program launched by The Commit Partnership, a community navigator that works to ensure that all North Texas students receive an equitable education.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

The Dallas County Promise covers any cost of tuition not included in financial aid grants. To date, nearly 60 high schools in Dallas County currently participate in this initiative.

It pairs students — including Oyinwola — with a success coach for the following three years of their education.

To ensure that students like Oyinwola have the opportunity to build a solid foundation, The Commit Partnership is supported by businesses like Capital One who are committed to driving meaningful change in Dallas County through improved access to education.

The bank's support comes as part of its initial $200 million, multi-year commitment to advance socioeconomic mobility through the Capital One Impact Initiative.

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In 1997, we used the internet primarily for email and for the novelty of being able to look things up on the "worldwide web." The internet wasn't even 10 years old and was a tiny fraction of one percent the size it is now. Speeds that seemed fast then would make us throw our laptops at the wall now. There was no Google, no social media, no Zoom. This is what the top search engine looked like:

Wayback Machine

We knew the internet had some potential, but we had no idea how reliant we would become on it for pretty much everything. Our vision of what the future might hold still looked like the Jetsons in many ways. Flying cars. Bulbous architecture. Inexplicably pointy clothing. Some kind of cool communication devices that would allow us to see one another's faces in real-time.

And yet, Archie Comics got one thing eerily right in a 1997 Betty comic titled "High School 20201 A.D." Virtual, online school.

Of course, it wasn't happening due to a pandemic, but was simply the way school happens in their imagined future.

"Kids today are SO lucky! They're able to go to school in their own home!" says Betty's Dad. "They never have to carry books to school...and they never have to worry about the weather!"

Flashback to this winter, when schools contemplated whether or not to have "snow days" for kids doing school at home.

"'Scue me, folks!" says Betty. "Class is about to begin!" She sits in front a definitely-not-2021-accurate computer with a hilariously huge camera atop it, but the basic gist is spot on. Especially when we see the sign on the wall that reads "VIDEO MONITOR MUST REMAIN UNCOVERED AT ALL TIMES."

Kids turning off their cameras was one of the hundreds of challenges teachers have had to deal with through the 2020-2021 school year. Phew.

Screenshots of the first page of the comic have gone viral on social media as people point out how bonkers it is that the comic pinpointed this year for their online, at-home schooling idea. Snopes had to do a fact-check as people asked if it was real, and Archie Comics themselves wrote up a page on their site about the prescient comic.

They wrote:

"The 6-page story, originally titled 'Betty in High School 2021 A.D.' was written by George Gladir, with art by Stan Goldberg, Mike Esposito, Bill Yoshida, and Barry Grossman. In this story we find Betty and her friends in Riverdale dealing with the struggles of virtual home schooling!

When this story was reprinted in 2015, the year in the title was changed to '2104 AD' (probably because we didn't have flying cars yet) but rest assured, the original story was published in 1997 and eerily predicted elements of virtual home schooling now commonly found across the world!"

Archie Comics went ahead and shared the rest of the comic on Facebook, and it's fun to see what was eerily accurate and what was hilariously not.

"My video phone is flashing!" Betty thinks, as her pink magic-mirror-looking phone rings. Remember, most people didn't have cell phones at this point, and smartphones with cameras were a more futuristic idea than flying cars, oddly enough.

And as bizarre a year as it's been, I don't think any schools have instituted "closet detention" for at-home schoolers.

Betty's friends' "special video screen" she puts behind her to make her feel like she's not alone in class is pretty funny, and not terribly unlike the Zoom backgrounds we can virtually put behind ourselves.

They actually overshot a little with the super short skirts, as the micro-mini actually made a comeback in the early 2000s.

And yep, there's the good ol' futuristic flying car. Is there anything we've been more wrong about than the likelihood of flying around in cars by now? I don't think so.

The rest of the comic is the teens checking out the old high school museum, where they could see the cafeteria and bulletin board and "an actual classroom."

And Betty ultimately saying she wished she could "go back to the days of our old and obsolete high school."

Yep. That part's accurate for a lot of actual 2021 students as well.

Virtual schooling has been a mixed bag, with some kids thriving at home without the pressures and social drama of in-person school, while others have struggled without the structure and social stimulation of it. But no one was prepared for the sudden shift to online learning. The past year has been one long stretch of trial and error, forced flexibility, and constant adaptation. And it definitely wasn't the future—or present—any of us had hoped for.

Hopefully, we'll get those flying cars one of these days. In the meantime, we'll settle for basic in-person schooling and some semblance of normalcy.

RODNAE Productions via Pexels
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The past year has changed the way a lot of people see the world and brought the importance of global change to the forefront. However, even social impact entrepreneurs have had to adapt to the changing circumstances brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.

"The first barrier is lack of funding. COVID-19 has deeply impacted many of our supporters, and we presume it will continue to do so. Current market volatility has caused many of our supporters to scale back or withdraw their support altogether," said Brisa de Angulo, co-founder of A Breeze of Hope Foundation, a non-profit that prevents childhood sexual violence in Bolivia and winner of the 2020 Elevate Prize.

To help social entrepreneurs scale their impact for the second year in a row, The Elevate Prize is awarding $5 million to 10 innovators, activists, and problem–solvers who are making a difference in their communities every day.

"We want to see extraordinary people leading high-impact projects that are elevating opportunities for all people, elevating issues and their solutions, or elevating understanding of and between people," The Elevate Prize website states.

Founded in 2019 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph Deitch, The Elevate Prize is dedicated to giving unsung social entrepreneurs the necessary resources to scale their impact and to ultimately help inspire and awaken the hero in all of us.

"The Elevate Prize remains committed to finding a radically diverse group of innovative problem solvers and investing unconventional and personalized resources that bring greater visibility to them as leaders and the vital work they do. We make good famous," said Carolina García Jayaram, executive director, Elevate Prize Foundation.

The application process will take place in two phases. Applicants have till May 5 for Phase 1, which will include a short written application. A select number of those applicants will then be chosen for Phase 2, which includes a more robust set of questions later this summer. Ten winners will be announced in October 2021.

In addition to money, winners will also receive support from The Elevate Prize to help amplify their mission, achieve their goals, and receive mentorship and industry connections.

Last year, 1,297 candidates applied for the prize.

The 10 winners include Simprints, a UK-based nonprofit implementing biometric solutions to give people in the developing world hope and access to a better healthcare system; ReThink, a patented, innovative app that detects offensive messages and gives users a chance to reconsider posting them; and Guitars Over Guns, an organization bridging the opportunity gap for youth from vulnerable communities through transformational access to music, connectivity, and self-empowerment.

You can learn more about last year's winners, here.

If you know of someone or you yourself are ready to scale your impact, apply here today.