When most people think of Alzheimer’s disease, they think of the elderly. But in reality, it is an insidious disease that has a huge impact on the lives of people of all ages, whether they are patients or caregivers.

Embracing a cause

Lauren Miller-Rogen and Seth Rogen founded Hilarity for Charity to promote Alzheimer’s disease awareness amongst the millennial generation, who are lesser known amongst those affected by the notorious neurodegenerative disease.

This issue hits close to home for Miller-Rogen, whose mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 55 and has been living with the disease—as much as one can live with this prognosis—for nine years. Her parents now live down the street from her and Rogen.

“My mom was an amazing mother and she was a teacher for 35 years,” says Miller-Rogen. “She now needs care for all aspects of her life. She has care around the clock, which is amazing and also a luxury that not many people can afford.”

Caring for caregivers

With Hilarity for Charity, the Rogens take advantage of their connections in the entertainment industry to throw high-energy fundraising events, including an annual Los Angeles Variety Show that includes music, comedy and special appearances from celebrities.

“'The biggest piece of advice I could give to someone going through this is to share their story. The worst parts of my journey were the years that I didn’t talk about it."

The organization is a resource for caregivers, who may be reluctant to seek help in a devastating experience. It awards in-home care grants across the United States and Canada. An Alzheimer's Care Grant Program can provide you with exceptional in-home care, while providing support and rest.

“I think asking for help in general is just very difficult,” says Rogen. “People are embarrassed by asking for help; they feel that they’ve somehow failed by finding themselves in a position where they have to ask for help. Those are the kinds of stigmas that we’re trying to talk about.”

Speaking up

As a caregiver, Miller-Rogen has sound advice for anyone finding themselves overwhelmed by caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

“The biggest piece of advice I could give to someone going through this is to share their story,” says Miller-Rogen. “The worst parts of my journey were the years that I didn’t talk about it. Those were years when I felt alone and completely angry because I didn’t think that anyone could possibly understand, which is so incorrect. So many people can understand. Share your story, connect with people. Young people can connect through Hilarity for Charity, through our support groups. There is so much stuff out there.”

Rogen adds, “Acknowledge that you need help; do not be ashamed. If you can’t afford it, go to our website and apply for a grant and we’ll provide you with help.”
 


WATCH: Seth Rogen gives his opening statement before a Senate hearing on Alzheimer's Research.