Tuesday, August 14 , 2018, 3:34 pm | Fair 75º

Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Rona Barrett: Indulge Me Whilst I Fantasize…

The place: Washington, D.C.

Setting: Hotel elevator.

Subject: President The Donald.

He struts into the elevator.

“Good morning, Mr. President. I know your latest approval ratings definitely are not — but are you going up?”

He smirks a yes.

A classic business situation: the elevator pitch — 60 seconds to deliver a clear, concise message to the most powerful person in the world.

Never would happen. But if it did, what would I say?

This fantasy was sparked by my participation in the National Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C., two weeks ago.

A local tri-county contingent of us advocates, political-types, caregivers and service-providers joined 1,200 more like-minded folks to focus on educating and influencing legislators voting on impending decisions about the critical issue of Alzheimer's research, care and support services.

From guest of honor Maria Shriver to the all-star roster of guest speakers, everyone shouldered a burdensome story about losing a senior loved one far too early.

Although I've rarely spent time inside the Beltway, the flight east allowed me time to reflect on our national political arena.

I remember a Python, Monty that is, once joking: “A lot has been said about politics; some of it complimentary, but most of it accurate.”

But when we arrived in the nation's capital, it quickly became a passionate game of numbers:

$414 million is the amount of additional funds needed along with the $350 million passed by Congress — but not yet in the NIH’s coffers — to meet the goal of preventing or effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025. 

2018 is the fiscal year in which the $414 million will be needed.

From now until 10-01-2017 is the time to influence our representatives to vote yes on these sorely needed appropriations.

5 is the number of “big diseases” — HIV, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Zero: While Alzheimer's is included on that list, it is the only one with zero progress being made toward a cure. Not enough funds for research.

1 out of 2 is the number of baby boomers who reach 85 will develop Alzheimer's if our current trajectory is not altered. 

200 is the combined number of calls, emails or tweets our local elected officials need to receive to indicate an issue is a hot topic with their constituents.

Now back to my elevator fantasy. Let's hope I don't get the shaft.

“So Rona, what brings you here?” POTUS ponders.

"Mr. President, there isn't a person in this country who’s not haunted by a senior story about a spouse, family member, friend or neighbor."

“I’m told your father, Fred, had Alzheimer’s for six years and passed away in 1999."

“Mr. President, during your campaign you promised Alzheimer's would be a priority."

“Is that really true? Or are you going to be yet another politician who ‘never believes what he says, but is always taken for his word'?"

“Knowing what my father meant to me, and what your father meant to you, I’d like to believe you will keep your promise.”

Until next time ... keep thinking the good thoughts.

— For more than 30 years, Rona Barrett was a pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer. Since 2000, she has focused her attention and career on the growing crisis of housing and support for our aging population. She is the founder and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation, the catalyst behind Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing, the Golden Inn & Village. Contact her at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.


Special Reports

Heroin Rising
<p>Lizette Correa shares a moment with her 9-month-old daughter, Layla, outside their Goleta home. Correa is about to graduate from Project Recovery, a program of the Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, and is determined to overcome her heroin addiction — for herself and for her daughter. “I look at her and I think ‘I need to be here for her and I need to show her an example, I don’t want her to see me and learn about drugs’,” she says.</p>

In Struggle to Get Clean, and Stay That Way, Young Mother Battles Heroin Addiction

Santa Barbara County sounds alarm as opiate drug use escalates, spreads into mainstream population
Safety Net Series
<p>Charles Condelos, a retired banker, regularly goes to the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics for his primary care and to renew his prescription for back pain medication. He says Dr. Charles Fenzi, who was treating him that day at the Westside Clinic, and Dr. Susan Lawton are some of the best people he’s ever met.</p>

Safety Net: Patchwork of Clinics Struggles to Keep Santa Barbara County Healthy

Clinics that take all comers a lifeline for low-income patients, with new health-care law about to feed even more into overburdened system. First in a series
Prescription for Abuse
<p>American Medical Response emergency medical technicians arrive at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with little time to spare for victims of prescription drug overdoses.</p>

Quiet Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse Taking a Toll on Santa Barbara County

Evidence of addiction shows an alarming escalation, Noozhawk finds in Prescription for Abuse special report
Mental Health
<p>Rich Detty and his late wife knew something was wrong with their son, Cliff, but were repeatedly stymied in their attempts to get him help from the mental health system. Cliff Detty, 46, died in April while in restraints at Santa Barbara County’s Psychiatric Health Facility.</p>

While Son Struggled with Mental Illness, Father Fought His Own Battle

Cliff Detty's death reveals scope, limitations of seemingly impenetrable mental health system. First in a series