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Radio Control Flying vs. Alzheimer's

It’s helping another RC’r!

Text and photo by Tom Hintz

Posted – 8-4-2015

I received a phone call from a woman who is married to 63 year old man that has been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's and given the “hobby” speech. For several weeks she felt that he started to withdraw and spent a lot of time cruising the Internet looking for the proverbial “magic bullet”. He eventually came across my site and recalled trying RC flying in his teen years. She says that he read everything on my site then one day went to the hobby shop.

He joined the AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics), joined a local club and bought a (Parkzone) VisionAire, the same plane I used to get back into the hobby. He worked with a club instructor for a bit but was soon flying on his own.

She went on to say that she should be angry with me because he is now looking at bigger planes. But, she said that she can’t complain because her husband is back and is more focused on fighting Alzheimer's. She said, “I know this sounds stupid but I knew RC flying was helping him when he came home with a broken plane and a big smile on his face. He said he had a great day and the plane can be fixed!” She said that was the first smile she had seen on him in weeks.

I don’t want to give the impression that RC flying cures Alzheimer's, nothing we know of right now does. RC flying is an effective way to fight against the progression of the disease for those people who already enjoy the hobby or have a genuine interest in it. Nothing is for everybody and RC flying is no different. However, if you like it RC flying can be a great way to augment your fight to slow the progression of Alzheimer's. Like any type of treatment, be sure you speak to your doctor about what you plan to do.

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