Legendary Latino actor Hector Elizondo, an Emmy Award winner and Academy Award nominee, is well-known for his many roles in the big screen and on T.V.
But he came to Fox News Latino to speak about his latest role – celebrity spokesman for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. Alzheimers is a disease Elizondo knows about first-hand – his mother died of it, and his father, her primary caregiver, died from exhaustion after caring for her for many years, he said.
“It's always fresh in my mind when I start talking about this,” an emotional Elizondo said during the interview. “I saw my mother and father disappear before my eyes for five or six years.”
He said while his father never came down with the disease – which also took the life of four of his aunts – the emotional and physical toll on him eventually killed him, he said. His mother, meanwhile, kept withering away to a vegetable.
“What happened to my father is especially tragic. It was my father who had a future and had a few good years left in him. But that wasn’t to be so,” Elizondo said. “He worked himself to death. He worried himself to death. And he was filled with guilt thinking, like a Latino man, that it was his fault.”
Latinos are particularly predisposed because they don’t take the disease seriously enough, he said. He urged everyone to take the memory screening – especially today since it is National Memory Screening Day – for anyone concerned about memory loss or about the disease.
The screenings, which last a few minutes, tell people whether they need to have additional testing. Elizondo will also host an Alzheimer’s telethon on December 4th to raise awareness of the disease.
“Don’t delay,” he said. “Be proactive about it, por favor.”
For memory screenings in Spanish, click here.
For more information about Alzheimer’s, or the memory screenings, go to www.alzfdn.org.