home
RSS
September 16th, 2011
05:22 PM ET

Pat Robertson makes controversial Alzheimer's claims

Pat Robertson, former presidential candidate and well-known televangelist, gave advice on his TV talk show “The 700 Club" this week that doesn't sit well with some people familiar with Alzheimer's disease.

A viewer named Andreas asked about his friend, who started seeing another woman after his wife developed Alzheimer's: "He says that he should be allowed to see other people, because his wife as he knows her is gone. I’m not sure what to tell him. Please help."

Robertson acknowledged that this is a "terribly hard thing" but also said the person in question is correct. "I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but to make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her," he said.

"Isn't that the vow we take when we marry someone, that's for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer?" his co-anchor asked.

There is the vow of "till death do us part," but Alzheimer's is "a kind of death," he said.

Time.com: Pat Robertson's worst gaffes

Paul R. Wolpe, director of the Emory Center for Ethics in Atlanta, takes issue with the idea that spouses of Alzheimer's patients don't have to have any fealty to their spouses because of the disease.

"I think he misunderstands how important emotional support is to people with Alzheimer's. Except for the most extreme and close to death people with Alzheimer's, they respond to emotional context. The emotional part of their lives is the last part to go," he said.

It's extremely therapeutic in many cases for people to maintain relationships with their spouses with Alzheimer's, he said. There are situations in which a spouse will choose to divorce a spouse with Alzheimer's or start a relationship with someone else while remaining married but will continue to remain connected to the Alzheimer's patient.

Wolpe is troubled by the idea that it's OK to abandon an Alzheimer's patient because he or she is already dead.

"I think abandoning a spouse because they have Alzheimer's is unethical. Divorcing them or not divorcing them isn't an issue to me so much; it's abandonment," he said. Robertson "did not say you have any responsibility to continue to try to support them emotionally, to visit them."

Not everyone took such a hard stance on Robertson's remarks. Beth Kallmyer, senior director of constituent services at the Alzheimer’s Association, emphasized how stressful it is for caregivers of Alzheimer's patients to watch their loved ones in this condition, which can result in their grieving for a spouse while he or she is still alive.

As for whether Alzheimer's is a kind of death, Kallmyer said she understands that some people may see it this way but said this also raises the need for education about the disease. "That person, even in the end stages, is still a person with a full history and a life that's been lived," she said.

But it can feel like the person is slowly dying. Kallmyer and colleagues get calls from caregivers who don't know how to talk to their spouses anymore. To that, she says:

"Talk to them like you used to talk to them. Do you know a favorite song that you could sing? To continue to have those conversations, and when people in the later stages are engaged with like that, there is a reaction, people react, and they can benefit from that," she said.

If you have a question or need support, call the Alzheimer's Association's 24-hour hot line at 1-800-272-3900.


soundoff (817 Responses)
  1. ClarkTauts

    yn6c3 vfpac amfc

    March 1, 2021 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. ClarkTauts

    xiiqs tn74t cex3

    March 1, 2021 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. FjjuZisse

    can i take viagra every day how much does generic viagra cost penis on viagra

    March 4, 2021 at 06:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Paul Anglum

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    March 6, 2021 at 14:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Bennie Sevcik

    Thanks for some other informative site. The place else could I am getting that kind of information written in such a perfect manner? I've a project that I'm just now running on, and I have been on the look out for such info.

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    March 6, 2021 at 14:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. FbshEncox

    https://thesisacloud.com/ – writing my thesis writing a good thesis thesis research research paper thesis

    March 22, 2021 at 11:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. LmoppEncox

    http://essaywriteris.com/ – write my essay wikipedia academic essay writers cheap essays online instant essay writer

    March 23, 2021 at 19:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. JvqqEncox

    https://dissertationahelp.com/ – example dissertation dissertation topics in education dissertations writing services dissertation methodology example

    March 25, 2021 at 08:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. FbshEncox

    https://thesisacloud.com/ – thesis abstracts thesis editing thesis proposal writing service write thesis

    March 25, 2021 at 09:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. GrvCrulk

    https://kloviagrli.com/ – viagra for the brain https://vigedon.com/ – canadian viagra https://llecialisjaw.com/ – tadalafil vs cialis https://jwcialislrt.com/ – free cialis trial https://jecialisbn.com/ – cialis otc 2017

    March 25, 2021 at 18:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. BrfgMile

    https://ljcialishe.com/ – cialis coupon 2019 https://cialisvja.com/ – cialis vs. viagra recreational use https://viagraonlinejc.com/ – what does viagra do to women https://viagratx.com/ – buy viagra online usa https://buycialisxz.com/ – generic cialis online canada

    March 26, 2021 at 18:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Billygem

    zithromax antibiotic without prescription: zithromax 250 mg australia generic zithromax 500mg india
    https://zithromaxproff.com/# zithromax for sale online

    March 30, 2021 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. FbshEncox

    https://thesisacloud.com/ – doctoral thesis nursing thesis buy a thesis thesis advice

    March 30, 2021 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. AbgcEncox

    https://thesiswritingtob.com/ – help with thesis write my thesis thesis for phd thesis coaching

    April 2, 2021 at 03:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. FbshEncox

    https://thesisacloud.com/ – thesisacloud.com example thesis thesisacloud.com editing thesis

    April 7, 2021 at 04:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. AbgcEncox

    https://thesiswritingtob.com/ – thesiswritingtob.com thesis phd thesiswritingtob.com writing a good thesis

    April 9, 2021 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Leave a Reply to NncsZisse


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.