Waiting for Alzheimer’s

The other day, I was talking with some friends about movies, and somehow the conversation got onto the film “Elf.”

There was a point I wanted to make about the actor who played Will Farrell’s father in the movie, but, for the life of me, I couldn’t remember his name.

I knew he’d played Sonny Corleone in “The Godfather.” And Brian Piccolo in “Brian’s Song.” And Hugh Grant’s future father-in-law in “Mickey Blue Eyes.” But his name escaped me.

I tried various mental tricks, such as running through the alphabet and trying out various first names, until finally after what seemed like a long time but was probably only — only? — 10 seconds I remembered he’s James Caan.

If you’re over the age of 60, as I am, something like this has probably happened to you. And it’s probably happening with greater frequency. I see my friends stumbling over a recollection. And, more and more, I find myself groping for a memory.

I tell them and I tell myself that these sorts of lapses are just part of getting older. With more than 60 years of events, numbers, people, interactions, books read, movies viewed, music listened to, baseball games watched, basketball games played, letters written, emails responded to, poems memorized, technologies learned, my brain is packed chock-full. So, it’s no surprise if a stray fact here and there goes missing.

Still, in the back of my mind, I’m a little unsettled.

Is my trouble recalling James Caan’s name early evidence of Alzheimer’s disease? Am I at the beginning of a slide down a slippery slope to mental oblivion?

For the rest of the story, which was published in the March 11, 2012, Tribune, go to……


Patrick T. Reardon


  • Bob DeMarco Posted March 11, 2012 10:08 am

    You article is wonderfully written. There is a real lesson to be learned by everyone in the Alzheimer’s community. I beleive this article should be shared with those who have been touched by Alzheimer’s and by baby boomers who might be worrying about the disease.

    This is a good reminder to live life to the fullest.

    If for any reason you decide to get tested for dementia in the fuure, we would invite you to share your experience on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room.

    Bob DeMarco, Founder
    Alzheimer’s Reading Room

    • Patrick T. Reardon Posted March 11, 2012 4:32 pm

      Bob — Thanks for the kind words. And thanks for doing such a nice write-up at the Alzheimer’s Reading Room. I’ll keep in touch. Pat

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