Joan Sutton
Joan Sutton‘s byline has appeared in The Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun, The Houston Post, The Boston Herald, Cosmopolitan Magazine and the Reader’s Digest. Her commentaries have been aired on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as well as CFRB radio and her columns have been collected in three best selling books. She is also the author of A Legacy of Caring: The History of The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She has served on many non-profit boards, including The Citizens Committee for New York City, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, The Banff Center and The Shaw Festival and is currently a member of the Board of Overseers of The Alzheimer’s Discovery Drug Foundation. She is a recipient of The Theodore Roosevelt Award for Public Service and is an honorary Freeman of the City of London. She lives in Manhattan and Bellport, Long Island.

Entries by Joan Sutton

The Parental Check Up

(1) Comments | Posted January 9, 2015 | 11:27 AM

Just in front of every baby boomer, there is a parent. Or parents. Like me, on the brink of old age, with all that aging brings.

Let us suppose that I am your mother.

Chances are, when you ask me, "How are you Mom?" I will answer "fine." Am I?

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What Alzheimer's and Hearing Loss Have in Common

(2) Comments | Posted August 25, 2014 | 12:19 AM

There is one thing that might be worse than being diagnosed with Alzheimer's: that would be being diagnosed with it incorrectly.

Yet that can happen to someone with a hearing impairment because the symptoms, byproducts, of cognitive and hearing loss are similar. In both cases, the afflicted person may experience...

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Love, Aging, Regrets

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2014 | 12:29 PM

I am growing older.

But that is not so bad

Because I have loved.

Not always wisely

And certainly,

Not always well.

When I consider my age

and the way I have spent the years,

I have some regrets:

Things done

And things undone.

But I have no regrets...

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Moving On After a Loved One's Death is Inevitable

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2014 | 1:20 PM

"Till death do us part".

When I said those words at the end of our marriage vows, I wasn't thinking about death: I was thinking about living, and loving, as long as I could.

Our rabbi reminded me of them a few weeks ago and the idea that the vows...

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Post-Oscar Chatter Shows That Young Women Need to Grow Up

(5) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 5:28 PM

Well the post-Oscar chatter about Kim Novak lends credence to one stereotype: Women really can be cruel to other women.

Beyond that, the comments of so many young women reek with hypocrisy and age-ism.

If I understand them correctly, Ms Novak's looks are an example of the Hollywood -- media...

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As a Widow, I Miss Touch More Than Sex

(2) Comments | Posted February 26, 2014 | 12:19 PM

Fifteen months into widowhood, what do I miss?

Touch and Talk.

Sex, yes, of course, but the desire for that pales beside the need to be touched. I have a serious case of skin hunger.

Couples who live together in intimacy take for granted the many times in a day...

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Sex, Love, Marriage

(0) Comments | Posted February 15, 2014 | 8:51 AM

When the playwright Charles McCarthur met Helen Hayes, he gave her a bag of peanuts and said, "I wish they were emeralds." When he became a big success, he gave her a bag of emeralds and said, "I wish they were peanuts."

McCarthur and Hayes were one of the great...

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Alzheimer's: The Search for Better Treatment

(5) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 11:07 PM

The best source for information about Alzheimer's, from cause to potential cures, is the NIH website, National Institute on Aging. As I am on the board of overseers of The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation, (ADDF) I also follow closely its funding decisions. When I raise money for a...

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Why Aren't We Doing More to Fight Alzheimer's?

(4) Comments | Posted February 2, 2014 | 4:40 PM

Treatment for Alzheimer's disease?


That doesn't mean that we write the patients off. Yes, the patient can and should receive care: There are drugs that may help ease symptoms, for a limited time. And there are medications available that that will make the patient more comfortable, and make life...

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My Husband Is Gone But His Soul Lives

(0) Comments | Posted January 12, 2014 | 10:49 PM

Living with Alzheimer's is a lesson in the mystery of life.

Pieces of self just disappear.

Goodbye, husband, head of the household.

Good bye, husband, chief gardener.

Goodbye, husband, master chef.

Goodbye, husband, protector, friend, confidante.

Goodbye to the man who told me I was lovely.

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.


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Do You Really Want 365 Days of Happiness?

(0) Comments | Posted January 3, 2014 | 12:07 PM

Happy New Year. There, I said it.

How many times has that happened over the past few days? Who can count? Even strangers in the park wish me a Happy New Year. We say it without thinking, a greeting by rote, bred somewhere in our response genes.

But truly, 365...

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The First Year of Being a Widow

(6) Comments | Posted December 7, 2013 | 11:41 PM

I am moving through what I think of as the year of the terrible firsts.

The first wedding anniversary without him; the first holidays; the first family celebration; birthdays, his, mine, our children's.

And I move, inexorably, to the marking of the first anniversary of his death.

In many ways,...

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The Trouble With Death With Dignity Acts

(8) Comments | Posted December 1, 2013 | 9:38 AM

My husband used to joke about how he would prefer to die -- after a martini, a great dinner with good friends and a fabulous bottle of wine, followed by a Cuban cigar, an Armagnac, passionate lovemaking and a deep sleep from which he would not wake up.

Well, he...

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Mind, Heart, Body and Words

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2013 | 3:30 PM

It took some of the medical establishment quite a long time to recognize the mind-body connection. Which is surprising when you consider that connection is an integral part of our vocabulary.

When children are over-active, a mother scolds, "Be still, you are giving me a headache." When we are...

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Moving Through Grief to the Self-Pity Stage

(7) Comments | Posted August 1, 2013 | 6:21 PM

By now, most people recognize that the stages of grief outlined in the Kubler-Ross model are not a map. Each of us walks that lonely road in our own way. Still, when you are overcome with anger, restlessness or loneliness, it is helpful to know that others too...

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I Mourn My Husband's Absence, Not His Death

(7) Comments | Posted July 12, 2013 | 1:20 PM

Six months: It was exactly six months ago that my beloved husband died.

There was a breath, and then, none. Life left the room, leaving behind love, loneliness, bittersweet memories, and a range of emotions.

I cannot, and do not, will not, mourn his death. Even before the advent of...

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My Life as an Alzheimer's Widow

(7) Comments | Posted March 24, 2013 | 3:25 PM

Ten weeks have passed since my husband died. Ten weeks of a new status --widow. Widow. The word just seems to beg to be followed by a period. Period. The end: The end of years of love, intimacy, sex, companionship, friendship, partnership, marriage, the end of status -- wife.


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Comfort Me With Gestures, Not Words

(1) Comments | Posted February 6, 2013 | 7:55 AM

Widow: The doctor records the time, declares your husband dead and, instantly, you are no longer a wife, but a widow.

And you are thrust into all the arrangements that have to be made after a death; surrounded by people; moving one foot in front of the other through the...

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After My Husband's Death I Don't Want Closure

(25) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 12:32 PM

When you reach a certain age, you begin to become familiar with death. Every year brings another round of funerals, so many that life can seem to be a long series of goodbyes. When that becomes too sad, we have to remind ourselves how glad we are that we had...

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Alzheimer's: Goodbye, My Love

(16) Comments | Posted January 22, 2013 | 8:50 AM

What Nancy Reagan called the long goodbye has, for me, come to an end. My beloved husband has died, peacefully, in his own home, surrounded by people who loved him.

It was indeed, a long goodbye. Seven years spent with Alzheimer's.

And a final year, playing hide and seek with...

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