Leon Rosenberg is 81 years old. He is a retired child psychologist living in a graduated assisted living community (and, full disclosure, he happens to be my father). He's a smart, well-educated man who led a long, successful career. Leon surprised me when he told me his fear about approaching the end of life is not dementia -- it's losing the use of his body before his mind. He explained that when your body gives out, you live in that suffering. When your mind gives out, you aren't there to be concerned about it anymore. The burden moves to your family, and that is a burden that one can arrange to minimize in advance, through financial planning (or Medicare support) and open conversations.
My father completely surprised me with his views (a bit more full disclosure). I would have sworn dementia would be his greater fear. And I'm not sure he's right that my brothers and I would rationally be able to disassociate the man we love from the body that goes on without him. I very much hope we'll never find out.
"First Person" is an experiment we are trying during this challenge to see how we might use video interviews to add inspiration and spark conversation. Let us know what you think!