It is a crazy day in the Applegate world, but I had one little thought relating to words. Some may say “You say tomato, I say tomoto” to this, but it is a pet peeve of mine now and it wasn’t before my mom’s decline with this disease. The word at question?:
“Old Timer’s Disease”
While I have never really used this phrase myself, I hear it used a lot, even by those with a loved one with the condition. It is a cute, catchy play on words…and I love me some plays on words…so what is wrong with it? For one, it is not only inaccurate, it passes a stigma forward and can cause people to not get checked. Young people get dementia too…many of them. Up to 5% of all cases in the U.S. happen prior to age 65! If there are four to five million cases, around 200,000-250,000 people fall into this category, (and are NOT OLD!) including my mom who was first diagnosed with “a mild (?) type of dementia” at about that cutoff. These folks do not need any help being discouraged from having the Alzheimer’s talk with their doctor and most doctors, sadly, don’t begin screening on their own until patients get a little older. Yet, it happens…a lot. Need a fresh face to put on this topic? Try Linda Fisher. PLEASE take a look at her superb blog: Here.
I don’t mean this to be offensive in any way, so hear my heart here and listen with understanding. The wordplay in this simile/analogy is similar: it would be like calling HIV/AIDS something like LGBTQ+ Relationship Disease. Yes, a sizable percentage of those who struggle with this horrific disease are may fall into this category, but a very large number are not! Many, many get it regardless who they are intimate with. Also, many get it without regard to sex at all. Labeling it something ignorant and inaccurate – like LGBTQ+ Relationship Disease – discounts the many who have the disease who do not fall into this category and it could lead to people not falling inside of that category to not get tested. Sound familiar? Early detection is also extremely important in this disease because it reduces the spread** and allows the patient to get on a treatment regiment that greatly enhances their chances of beating it. Well, we rightly don’t tie HIV/AIDS to a limiting demographic because we care equally about 100% of the sufferers, so should we joke about dementia/Alzheimer’s being only old people and leave out the rest? Again, please hear my heart here…I am not comparing the two conditions (both are horrible killers), I am just drawing conclusions by looking at how we use their names and hoping that we advocate for all and not less than all.
So, why do I bring this up in my little week-long “series” of things popping in and out of my melon about Silver Dollar City? I was just thinking of all of the times I and others around me have referred to SDC as “Steal Your Dollar City”. I need to stop doing that and consider correcting those who continue! While it is expensive, it is a wonderful time! Nobody forces me to go, to buy funnel cakes or to get a tin type of my family. I shouldn’t slander them by joking using their name. They are not a perfect company, but they do do a lot for their community, and you really do get a great time for the money it costs. They earn their admission charge. 🙂
Just a thought…Am I wrong on this wordy discussion? Let me know in the comments. 😉
Update: Nothing much new on mom. She is happy, eats well, takes her meds and is pretty ok all things considered. Once of the Sweet 17, sadly, is doing poorly and will soon be joining over half of the original members in their eternal home. This is a hard disease, folks. 🙁 Pray for a cure.
**Alzheimer’s/Dementia is NOT contagious in any way
Bonus thought: Maybe we could just use the opportunity to mention early-onset dementia when we hear people mention old timer’s disease? “Say, did you know that up to a quarter of a million people in the US get dementia before they are 65?
Another bonus thought: I am not a snowflake. I can handle words. However, words that lead to harm need to be reconsidered. We want people to be healthy and happy…everyone. I have been guilty many times of using my words in a hurtful way and I am growing in this area slowly but surely…