The Exploitation of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease in This Year’s Presidential Race

The conflation of age and illness appears to be all that matters.

Joel Eisenberg


Trump and Biden, Official White House Photos

What follows is a short, uncharacteristic rant.

I’ve lost two relatives to Alzheimer’s disease: my paternal grandmother and a maternal uncle.

I am sick and tired of both political parties accusing the other’s candidate of suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.

It’s exploitive, cheap and easy, and diminishes the suffering of those who have been formally diagnosed, and of their friends and families.

I’ve spent more minutes in nursing home dementia wards than I could count. I’ve donated to and attended events for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Let’s be square about it: Both candidates are gaffe machines. It’s an honest point and I don’t care how it goes over.

Both also exhibit fluctuating energy.

Though I have my own opinions on the matter, I am not going to publicly ascribe those tendencies to illness. I am not a doctor.

And neither are you, despite the ongoing partisan race to create the most resonant narrative as to who is declining the quickest.



Joel Eisenberg

Joel Eisenberg is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. The Oscar in the profile pic isn’t his but he’s scheming. WGA and Pen America member.