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My conversation with Seth Rogen

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I had a dream last night.

Actor and comedian Seth Rogen was working on some projects with Long-Term Living. Excitedly, I pulled him aside and showed him the printout of news headlines about his recent Senate testimony related to Alzheimer's disease that had been sitting on my desk for the past few weeks.

"I was going to write a blog about this, but it would be so much better if you did," I told him. As he and I talked about the potential column, our enthusiasm grew and the project became more involved.

Rogen's real visit to Capitol Hill Feb. 26 didn’t go as well as this imagined conversation. The star of films such as “Knocked Up,” “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express” was one of five people appearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations' Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Services (just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) to advocate for increased funding for Alzheimer’s disease research. Rogen shared his personal experiences related to Alzheimer’s disease: his mother-in-law had received a diagnosis while in her mid-50s, and by the age of 60, she no longer could speak or perform activities of daily living.

“I saw the real ugly truth of the disease, a side I literally had never been exposed to even by hearsay or dramatization,” he testified, adding that he also has witnessed the helplessness and financial strain felt by caregivers. To help ease those nightmares, he and his wife, Lauren Miller, have started Hilarity for Charity, an Alzheimer’s Association-related organization raising awareness and research funding among younger people.

But Rogen witnessed an ugly truth of government on the day of his testimony. During the first part of the committee meeting, he later relayed to Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” two committee members appeared to be dozing and subsequently asked questions that had been answered during testimony. By the time it was Rogen’s turn to speak, he said, the subcommittee’s only remaining members were its chairman and ranking member.

“It seems like these people don’t care,” he told the TV show host. “That’s the direct message they’re giving.” He repeated those sentiments elsewhere and via his Twitter account that day and following days.

As someone who works in long-term care, you know the statistics. Every 67 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's. By 2050, the number of Americans aged at least 65 years who have the disease may grow from five million to as many as 16 million. Those and other statistics were cited during the Senate committee meeting, too.

“All those empty seats are senators who are not prioritizing Alzheimer's. Unless more noise is made, it won't change,” read one of Rogen's tweets. So he is among those making noise.


Lois Bowers

Lois Bowers


Lois A. Bowers was senior editor of Long-Term Living from 2013-2015.



Great article! Very sad to read about the committee members' lack of interest and disrespectful actions, though.

Thank you for this article. I believe there is less interest in Alzheimer's now. Formerly, they were very hopeful about the vaccine that had been developed. It turned out to be a disaster. They now are more realistic about how complex the brain is and that finding a cure will not only be very difficult but will also take a lot more time.

With the exception of VERY FEW, members of Congress and U.S. senators have, at best, only a small inkling of what they are listing to or responding to. Their staffs do, but they do not. That's why decisions are rarely made on what's good public policy, but what's good for re-election. It's not even a generation ago when Metzenbaum, Proxmire, Moynihan, Fullbright, etc., could recite, in great detail, what the congressional agenda was, and the pros and cons of each piece of legislation. For example, despite all of its positives, we have recently lost part of the historic Voting Rights Act, and at some point in the next 10 years, we are likely to lose the Affordable Care Act.

Thanks for writing this article. Seth Rogen is one of my favs in the business. His observation of the committee he spoke with is unspeakable. They should be ashamed.

To everyone offering comments so far, thank you. Watching the committee meeting was very interesting. The chairman and ranking member cited statistics, noted that so many people are touched by the disease and said that it's the "defining disease" of a generation. Seth Rogen said he had heard about it but didn't understand until he went through it with his mother-in-law. Let's hope that high-profile events such as this one will inform more people.