It has always been in cookbook author Paula Wolfert’s nature to broadcast her most cherished discoveries, whether through cookbooks or the Internet.
Soon after learning that she had cognitive impairment, she asked the Alzheimer’s Association how she could get involved. She wanted to “come out,” she said, to fight the stigma and encourage more people to seek help early.
“They can’t help people who have already gone over the brink,” she says. “Ninety-nine percent of people who have what I have are in denial. People are just beginning to stop talking about it as this terrible thing to be ashamed of.”
Here are some of the activities in her sights:
Support groups. For her local Sonoma community, she’s trying to organize a regular gathering for people to learn more about Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment, the different diagnoses she received after consulting two doctors late last year.
Video testimonials. For the Northern California chapter’s blog (www.alzheimersblog.org) she has recorded a series of short videos about her experiences, to encourage others to get tested. They went live this week, in time for National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in November.
Clinical trial. One surprising obstacle to Alzheimer’s disease research: Scientists often have trouble finding people willing to participate in new treatment trials. Wolfert is in discussions to join a (fittingly enough) diet-related study at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in San Rafael, Calif.
Lobbying. Although plans are not yet set, Wolfert might join the association’s annual spring trip to Washington to lobby members of Congress for research funding.