Clark Resident Betty Smith and her family will premiere a 30-minute documentary film about her experience with Lewy Body Dementia on September 16 at the United Methodist Church in Ludington, Michigan.
The documentary discusses Smith’s experience with early signs, diagnosis, and ongoing care to manage the symptoms and challenges the disease can cause.
“Creating this video is an opportunity to raise awareness, reduce the stigma and advocate for those living with this terrible disease. We can’t change where we are right now, but we can change how we get there if we change peoples’ attitudes. If I can help one person or family, this will be one of the most important things I’ve done,” Smith said.
Smith wants to let people know that it’s harder to talk about living with dementia than one might expect. She’s active, she’s happy, and she knows that there are things that used to be familiar. And she knows it’s important to recognize and organize an environment of care.
She spent her life as a resource for so many in west Michigan, in good times and in bad, as a pastor, and as a friend. Which is why it’s so important to her to speak up now, while she can still be that resource for others.
“I knew myself. I knew I wasn’t remembering things the way I used to. I knew I needed to let my husband, Bill, know something was wrong. It was a good time to ask for help,” Smith said.
Her kids noticed, too. The chocolate chip cookies she would famously make, the walks, the friends, her family, their names, all became more of a challenge.
Lewy Body dementia affects roughly 1 million people in the United States each year and impacts both mental faculty in addition to physical control and motor skills typically in people over the age of 50.