Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster Visits The Birches at Concord
U.S. Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster recently visited The Birches at Concord in New Hampshire to speak about Alzheimer’s to residents and family members.
A strong advocate for Alzheimer’s care and research, Ann represents a state with the third oldest population in the nation and one of the costliest states for assisted living. She is also the author of “The Last Dance: Facing Alzheimer's with Love & Laughter,” the inspirational story of her mother’s experience with Alzheimer’s.
Ann comes from a family of politicians. Her father, Malcolm McLane, was mayor of Concord and a member of the New Hampshire Executive Council. Her mother, Susan McLane, was a member of the New Hampshire Senate. And Ann Kuster's great-grandfather, John McLane, was governor of New Hampshire from 1905–1907.
When Ann’s mother began to experience short-term memory loss, her mother took a trick from the campaign trail. “Whenever she ran into someone whose name she could not remember,” Ann wrote, “she’d throw her arms around the person and plant a big kiss on his cheek.” The person assumed Ann knew them so well that no name was needed. “It worked every time,” wrote Ann.
Ann told stories of life with her mother and read excerpts from her book, which she wrote to help people who have a loved one with Alzheimer’s learn to celebrate the joy in every moment and have peace in their hearts.
Ann’s mother received respite care at The Birches. On one of her visits to The Birches, Ann witnessed her mother’s reaction to 9/11 on the TV news.
Executive Director Charles (Chuck) Crush organized the event. “Ann’s talk was amazing,” says Chuck. “She reminded us why we do what we do.”