Dean Smith’s Struggle with Dementia

Linnea Smith, wife of UNC basketball coaching legend Dean Smith, spoke publicly about her experience caring for her husband who had dementia. While she addressed a most serious topic, Linnea shared many light-hearted observations about her famous spouse.

Linnea keynoted a press conference celebrating the launch of Dementia Friendly Orange County and a $900,000 federal grant that will fund many Dementia Friendly initiatives. The project, which is the first in North Carolina and one of only a handful nationwide, aims to better the quality of life for dementia patients by increasing awareness, sensitivity and community inclusion for those who have dementia. Dementia is not a disease per se. It is a symptom – cognitive decline – that can be caused by many factors. The most common cause is Alzheimer’s Disease. It can also be caused by other medical conditions such as stroke or Lewy-Body disease. Brain trauma is another cause. Earlier this year, professional football players sued the NFL for the concussions they experienced and the dementia it has produced.

Linnea offered a profound observation familiar to caregivers. “It doesn’t matter how successful an individual is or how well known… it doesn’t make one exempt from [dementia].” She observed that she was fortunate to have a support network around her when she needed assistance. She hopes that the DFOC effort will help build those networks for others. “The devastating disability, the lack of awareness and the need for more research funding tends to overshadow the need for support for families,” Linnea concluded, “It takes a village to provide care.”

This service has regrettably been disabled. This message is purely being displayed as to not cause any damage to any website connected to this feature.