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I met the most extraordinary gentleman recently through an email, which began: “Hi, My name is Donald Bowling and I am 86 and have Alzheimer’s. I live at Aegis of Napa and have been doing research on Alzheimer’s. I think I would be a good guest on your TV program, ‘Senior’s Rule!’”

Who could resist a note like that? I contacted Joann Busenbark, producer of the show, and we arranged to meet and talk with Donald a short time later. Joann invites me to co-host her show occasionally.

We found Donald to be a very personable and intelligent person who had a story he wanted to share with us and with our TV audience.

We were charmed by Donald and invited him and his daughter, Melodie Roche, also very charming, to join us at the studio for a taping soon after our meeting.

We did the taping, and you will be able to see the show on Channel 28, this month, twice a week. Mondays at 11:30 a.m. and Saturdays at 5 p.m. If you don’t get Channel 28 on your TV, go to NapaValleyTV.org; select Video on Demand; select Channel 28; select Senior’s Rule!; and select the Oct. 3 show.

During our conversations with Donald at Aegis and again with both Donald and Melodie at the TV studio, the following are some of the stories we learned about Donald’s life. I’ll only touch lightly on the TV segment, as I know you’ll want to see and enjoy Donald’s story on Channel 28. My focus will be on our conversation at Aegis.

Donald was born in Kansas in 1929, served in the Army during the Korean War, and married Evelyn in 1950. Both attended and graduated from UCLA in 1957.

Evelyn passed away in 1997. Before that, she and Donald wrote two books together, “Voice Power” and “After Your First Six Words … I Know You.”

Donald continued writing books, several on travel in Italy, focusing on easy travel for seniors and the handicapped.

This past January, while visiting with his daughter, he saw a 30-foot snake in her backyard. In reality, it was a garden hose. Hallucinations can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s, which his doctor confirmed, suggesting he move to Aegis of Napa.

Donald told us about a book that he was finding very helpful called “The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program” by Gary Small, M.D., director of the UCLA Longevity Center.

It sounds like a very helpful book for we folks who are getting older and find that words slip away from us when telling a story. I’d be interested in reading the chapters on Strengthening Memory, and on Brain-Protecting Foods.

Whatever Donald is doing is working well for him. He has begun teaching classes in exercise and speech, and is singing to his fellow residents at Aegis.

Joann and I enjoyed meeting Donald, and I hope that you did, too. Now it is time to say goodbye. Until we meet again, be kind to one another. I would love to hear from you, bettyrrhodes@sbcglobal.net.

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