America lost a legend this week. Casey Kasem, radio pioneer and voice-over actor, passed away on Sunday, June 15, at age 82. As the countdown king, Kasem used his unmistakable voice to revolutionize radio with innovative segues and listener interactions.
Kasem’s final months made headlines for his family’s struggles with his dementia and end-of-life care. Kasem suffered from Lewy body dementia, which resembles both Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Since an estimated 5.2 million Americans are reportedly living with Alzheimer’s disease, another form of dementia, Kasem’s final days are part of a story that many American families know firsthand.
Family caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias face both the commonly thought-of difficulties of memory loss and cognitive issues with their loved one, but also more challenging behaviors such as wandering, aggression, repeated questions or phrases and difficult sleep patterns. Kasem was unable to use his famous voice in his last few months. Speech loss is sometimes present in the final stages of the dementia.
Our client, Home Instead Senior Care, has helped many families walk this path and has developed resources including a mobile app, workshops, online information centers and local expert advice. Last week in New York City, our firm, along with FleishmanHillard and Immersion Active, won a Silver Anvil Award of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) for the PR campaign titled: Addressing the Needs of the Rapidly Growing Alzheimer’s Population and Family Caregivers.
We have been privileged to support Home Instead’s mission to bring education and awareness to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias as well as hope and relief to so many families like Kasem’s.