Renée Beard is a sociologist who studies the “the social ramifications” of Alzheimer’s, what she describes as “the felt and enacted stigma of being deemed incompetent.” Studying this disease from a sociological perspective as well as a biological one begins to get at the complex experiences of those suffering. She is a professor at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.
You can read more about Beard’s work and why her sociological insights are important here.
On a personal note, learning about Beard made me feel very happy for two reasons. First, I have seen family members suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia and understand, albeit in a small way, the devastation it causes to both the sufferer and his or her loved ones. Second, I was a freshman at Holy Cross when I rebelliously (in my own mind) dyed my hair pink in the bathroom of my dorm. Seeing that a smart and successful woman is rocking pink hair on the Hill made me smile pretty damn wide.
Photo from Holy Cross.