Steven Wallace

Steven Wallace

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: A lot of things can happen in 72 seconds. If you sit back for 72 seconds and think about all of the things you could be doing for 72 seconds, you would most likely think of hundreds of fun ideas or entertaining scenarios. What you probably did not think of at the end of that 72 seconds is you or a loved one could be diagnosed with a serious, lifechanging illness.

The other day I was chatting with one of my friends and I arbitrarily asked him how his mom was doing. Instantly, I knew I had touched on a sensitive subject. His mother, a wonderful woman, is in the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease. He expects these last few months to be very difficult.



Unfortunately, my friend and his family are not alone. In America, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia-related illnesses every 72 seconds or less. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that there are now more than 5 million people in the United States living with Alzheimer’s disease. They also report the escalation of Alzheimer’s disease, which is now the seventh leading cause of death in the country and the fifth leading cause of death for those over age 65.

Without a cure or effective treatments to delay the onset or progression of Alzheimer’s, the prevalence could soar to 7.7 million people with the disease by 2030. Another report I read predicted 1 in 45 Americans will be affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia-type diseases by the year 2050. At that rate, someone will develop Alzheimer’s every 33 seconds.

After the conversation with my friend, I thought about the television show I produced with Johanna Wigg, Ph.D., social gerontologist, and co-founder of the Vicarage by the Sea. She and I did a 22-minute show on Alzheimer’s and the difficulties associated with the disease. I have not looked at Alzheimer’s or dementia-type illnesses the same since I met her and the staff at the Vicarage by the Sea.

Johanna was impacted by her own family’s experience with Alzheimer’s and she readily admits she was not overly impressed with the continuum of care she saw in “traditional” skilled care centers. So, she started a unique, long-term care home for those living with progressive neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s-like disorders, in Harpswell.

When I visited, the maximum of eight residents lived in the family-like setting, to include pets and homecooked meals. Several family members were visiting while I was taping the show and their comments are part of the online program. I urge you to hear about this disease from their perspective — both the good and not so pleasant.

If any of your family or friends are going through a difficult situation with Alzheimer’s or dementia-type diseases, or you just want to learn more, I highly recommend you watch the Midcoast Business Spotlight episode “The Vicarage by the Sea” online at

UPCOMING EVENTS: Members are invited to the Topsham Toyota ribbon cutting and grand opening at 115 Main St., Topsham, on Thursday, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Congratulate this chamber member who is growing its business, growing its community and growing the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber.

Learn “Effective Networking Strategies for Women, on Thursday, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., at the Captain Daniel Stone Inn, 10 Water St., Brunswick. Deb Neuman, deputy commissioner of DECD, will share her expertise on building strategic partnerships, networking how-to’s, creative strategies for crafting your perfect elevator pitch and implementing LinkedIn and Facebook to grow your network. Register now online at or by calling 725-8797. BEK Inc. is the event sponsor. Other sponsors are Occupational Health Associates of Maine, Coastal Maine Pediatric Dentistry, Mid Coast Hospital, Welcome Home Realty and Silpada Jewelry, represented by Missy Stockford.

Are you using social media to grow your business? We’d like to hear how it is working. The Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber wants to learn how it can better network and grow Mid-coast businesses through social media channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs. Come to brown-bag lunch meeting on June 14, from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m., at the Border Trust Building, 2 Main St., Topsham.

Learn simple meditation of imagery to bring your body and mind to a healing and peaceful place, easy stretches to increase circulation and release tension and how to be connected to and honoring your brilliance with presenter Donna Marie Bordeaux, of Greater Brunswick Physical Therapy. This program is Mid Day Chambers on June 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The program is free and open to the public and takes place at the Topsham Public Library, 25 Foreside Road.

Fairfield Inn and Suites hosts the June 27 Chamber After Hours, 5 to 7 p.m. Businesspeople are encouraged to make use of the networking power of the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber and enjoy the camaraderie of other businesspeople. Door prizes include gift certificates, a “Spotlight on Members” column, a creative floral display from Flowers Etc. and more. This event is free to attend but pre-registration is requested online at or by calling 725-8797.

MEMBERS IN THE NEWS: SMMC welcomes Bill Dodge Hyundai and Bill Dodge Pre-Owned Super Center, both located in Brunswick, and Bill Dodge Auto Group in Westbrook to its membership.

The chamber proudly serves 660 businesses and organizations in the following communities: Arrowsic, Bath, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Brunswick, Dresden, Edgecomb, Georgetown, Harpswell, Phippsburg, Richmond, Topsham, West Bath, Westport Island, Wiscasset and Woolwich.

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