NCC18 Presenter: Susan Frick


NCC18 Presenter: Susan Frick

Join Susan for a viewing of her documentary during our Third Annual National Caregiving Conference:

Too Soon to Forget on Friday, Nov. 9, at 3 p.m.
Living with Alzheimer’s disease is a challenge, changing life for both the person with the disease and their family. But what if someone diagnosed with this disease was in their early 60s, 50s, or even as young as in their 30s? Younger onset Alzheimer’s disease affects people 65 years old or younger. Though the exact number of people with younger onset is unknown, the impact of living with Alzheimer’s in midlife is great. Although there are many resources for those coping with Alzheimer’s, very little information is available specifically for those facing younger onset. This lack of information and support leaves many families feeling misunderstood and often disregarded. Too Soon to Forget aims to change that. Through a collaborative effort between the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, recognized around the world as a leader in Alzheimer’s research and treatment, together with TMK Productions, an Emmy award-winning producer of programs broadcast on public television, this inspirational documentary gives a voice to those affected by younger onset Alzheimer’s. The distinguished hosts of Too Soon to Forget are B. Smith and Dan Gasby, who personally understand the challenges this disease can present. At age 62, B. Smith, model, celebrity chef, and lifestyle maven, was diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer’s. Since then, the husband and wife pair have become ambassadors for younger onset. They have shared their story and co-authored Before I Forget, a New York Times Bestseller which details their journey. With their ongoing efforts and participation in Too Soon to Forget, B. Smith and Dan Gasby continue to work as agents of change to increase awareness and understanding of younger onset Alzheimer’s. We are extremely fortunate to have nine families join us in the creation of this program. They have bravely shared their stories, knowing that speaking about the difficulties that accompany living with this diagnosis can be tremendously challenging. These families recount their own personal journey, while sharing common struggles. They must strike a balance between maintaining normality and making lifestyle adjustments to accommodate the disease’s effects. In personal moments shared throughout the program, those living with Alzheimer’s disease and their family members describe the hardships of shifting relationships, preserving faith, separating the disease from the individual, and learning how to handle their situation with dignity. To complement the words of the families, this documentary incorporates four paintings by the Reverend Shawna Bowman. Created from conversation with the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center’s younger onset support group Without Warning, her work visually expresses what it feels like to experience the disease. The images dynamically explore the loneliness, isolation, life adjustments, and healing power of community often felt by those living with younger onset Alzheimer’s disease—ideas that can be difficult to explain with just words. No one should have to go through this experience alone. With the stories of these nine families, we trust this documentary will begin a national conversation that encourages awareness, understanding, and acceptance.

Susan has worked at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center since 1997. She coordinates dementia specific training programs for health care professionals. She is the Director of Without Warning®, a support program for individuals and families who live with younger onset Alzheimer’s and the Executive Producer of the documentary, created by the group, now airing on PBS entitled, Too Soon to Forget: The Journey of Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. She works with patients and families in the Rush Memory Clinic and with people involved in RADC research studies. Susan received her Master’s degree in Social Work from Loyola University of Chicago. She presents at many national and local conferences and for many community organizations and has worked in the field of Alzheimer’s disease since 1987.

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We are so grateful to the following sponsors for making our conference possible:

~ AARP ~

~ Seniors BlueBook ~ Seniorlink ~ Henry Ford Health System CARE Program ~

~ Society of Certified Senior Advisors ~ Mindlight ~