As Grandparents’ Day fell on this past weekend, I reflected on what my mother used to tell me as a child. Respect your elders. When she said that, she meant respect them when in their presence.

Together with like-minded volunteers and Ambassadors  for The Alzheimer’s Association Greater New Jersey Chapter I respect our elders even if I don’t know them, by fighting Alzheimer’s disease with tenacity and fortitude.

My father-in-law, Lorenzo Malanga, had a seven-year battle with Alzheimer’s, finally succumbing to the disease two years ago. Seeing him decline and fade away is what inspired me and my family to get involved with The Alzheimer’s Association, volunteering as chairs for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, attending training sessions, fundraising in many different ways, journeying to DC for Forum, and traveling to The Alzheimer’s annual Summit.

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Of course, I did these things not only for self reward, but to honor those who have passed from or who are currently suffering with dementia.

We can be part of something bigger than ourselves as we volunteer and advocate for laws such as the Elder Abuse Act.

In the future, if we are lucky, we will all be the elders. It is in our own self interest to revere and respect our elders, as we may be there soon. We are not only fighting for now, but for the future. Our future.

I urge Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill to support The Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act (S.3703/H.R.6813) which will enable all Americans to have a brighter future.

Let’s work together, help each other, and do everything we can to end this terrible affliction. To do nothing is passive, but to do something is massive.


Dave Whetton

Caldwell resident

Ambassador for The Greater NJ Chapter of The Alzheimer’s Association