Take a look at how people age around the world with this AARP special report: A New Age.
by Jeanne Dorin McDowell, AARP The Magazine, January/February 2009 issue
For 20 years before his mother’s death in 2004 at age 89, actor Peter Gallagher witnessed her gradual descent into the oblivion that characterizes Alzheimer’s disease. Slight memory lapses in the shy, fiercely intelligent Mary Ann O’Shea Gallagher gave way over time to a profound disconnection from the present, interrupted occasionally by breakthrough moments of clarity. “All of a sudden there would be a twinkle, a warmth and look of great love in her eyes. Then I would see fear in her eyes that I had never seen, as if the landmarks that were so familiar to her were now foreign,” recalls Gallagher, 53, a film and Broadway veteran who most recently starred as public defender Sandy Cohen on the hit TV series The O.C. Saddened and yet inspired by his mother’s fight, Gallagher immersed himself in the search for a cure. He serves on the National Advisory Council of the Alzheimer’s Association, organizes Los Angeles-chapter fundraisers, and participates in fundraising Memory Walks, all with the unshakable belief that treatments for this devastating disease will be found before too long. Until that happens, the actor won’t give up. “It makes me feel less powerless,” he says. “I do it for my mother. It’s the best way I can think of to honor her.”
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Members save up to $100 per person on select guided tours.
Members save 15% all day, every day at participating locations.
Members save 15% on in-store purchases of frozen yogurt, treats and apparel.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at