Watching her grandfather battle the disease, Judy Greer became a passionate advocate for Alzheimer’s research and is committed to finding a cure.
Actress Judy Greer, 44, who’s known as the “best friend” from numerous movies and TV shows, says it’s important to talk about Alzheimer’s disease, especially for those who’ve lost loved ones.
“There are so many stories, and it’s so hard to watch someone you love go through it,” she says. “It’s sad and scary and frustrating, and we can’t help but wonder, ‘Will we be next? Will this happen to us?’”
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes the slow deterioration of a person’s memory and cognitive functions. Currently, 5.8 million Americans have the disease, with projections increasing that number to 14 million by 2050.
While Greer continues to learn about the disease, it’s important to her to share her grandfather’s story, and that of her family in taking care of him, as a Celebrity Champion for the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Caregiving was always selfless, but always a concern,” she says. “Who? What? Where? When? Who is caring for our loved ones?”
The time and effort it takes to help a patient can be a great strain on caregivers — including financially. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association reports that 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, and 83 percent of that help is provided by family members, friends, or other unpaid caregivers.
While the primary concern is caring for and keeping the patient safe, we also need to look out for the caregivers, too. Caregivers should have help navigating the situation when they can no longer do it alone, without having to feel guilty about it. Greer worries about helping caregivers avoid burnout and keeping them safe.
Research for a cure
The “Ant-Man” and “13 Going on 30” star encourages people to donate time and money to support research efforts. Research can unlock treatments, prevention, and potentially, a cure for the disease.
“We need to keep the dream alive that we will one day find a cure for this,” says Greer. “And who knows? Maybe finding a cure for Alzheimer’s will aid in research for other degenerative diseases as well.”