Why I Am an Idealist

Eric J. Hall Health Guide
  • I recently wrote a letter for the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's care ADvantage magazine.  It declared that I am an idealist.  I believe anything and everything is possible especially if you are working for a worthy cause with a desire to make a difference.  I have been asked in this column, my first blog contribution to HealthCentral (first blog contribution - ever - just for the record), to share with readers why I founded the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) and why I am joining HealthCentral’s cadre of experts.  Why?  Exactly because I am an idealist!


    I have spent my entire professional career in the nonprofit world. As a top official, I have, of course, often had my head buried in numbers, bottom-lines, growth projections, but, more importantly, my peers tell me that my strength has been raising my head to look out into the real world—to see gaps that need to be filled in order to better people’s lives.  I didn’t have to look very far to note the gaps as they related to Alzheimer’s disease: No cure, not enough funding for research, a growing dementia population, an enormous burden on caregivers, limited financial resources to pay for care needs, and organizations providing programs and services at maximum capacity and with stagnant or diminished funding. Individuals with the disease, their caregivers and local organizations were all crying out for more. Now tell me if anyone besides an idealist would consider taking on such an enormous task of making a difference!

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    With the support and passion of our chairman, Bert Brodsky, AFA was founded in 2002. In our five years of operation, AFA has been caring for people on a one-on-one level—through our toll-free hot line and emails knowledgably and sensitively answered by licensed social workers—and on a broader scope through an array of national initiatives. I’ll let know more about these exciting initiatives in future blogs or visit our site, www.alzfdn.org.   


    In my role, I have been fortunate to continually be in touch with experts in the realm of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, AFA’s hundreds of member organizations and other caregiver organizations, and caregivers themselves—people like HealthCentral’s experts and readers like you who face new challenges every day, who have the tremendous desire to become more educated and who, as SharePost participants, have the courage to share your thoughts and ideas with others. As I join HealthCentral’s vibrant community, my goals, just like with AFA, will be to raise awareness and help others on the caregiving journey. My pulse on hot buttons for caregivers, insight into legislative advances and advocacy, and day-to-day involvement in strategizing to solve issues of concern will serve as the backbone for my blogs.


    At AFA, the team effort—the pulling together of dedicated staff, a committed board of trustees, passionate member organizations, and generous donors—has been working to change the face of care in America. Now, I’m delighted to add the HealthCentral community to the team!


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    I mentioned that I am an idealist.  What I have found is that I am not the only one.

Published On: June 06, 2007