November is designated as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. President Ronald Reagan made that designation in 1983 and this it is something that is still recognized today. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, at that time there were less than two million people with the disease. In the Ocean State, more than 23,000 Rhode Islanders are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and over 53,000 family and friends are providing care.
During Alzheimer’s disease awareness month, the Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Island Chapter continues its work to educate Rhode Islanders about this devastating mental disorder. There website (www.alz.org/ri) provides educational programming and support to those facing Alzheimer’s and other dementias, health care providers, and to family caregivers providing care,
Every legislative session the Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Chapter lobbies lawmakers on Smith Hill to funding of programs and services for adequate funding for programs directed at persons with Alzheimer’s and dementia and for caregivers.
“Memory Walks” Raise Funding for Alzheimer’s Research
Over two months before November’s Alzheimer’s Awareness month, the Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Island Chapter gathered over 3,400 participants to raise over $500,000 from three “memory walks,” held in Providence, Newport and Westerly. These events raised both awareness and research funding. Many who did not participate in the “memory walks” just made donations to help fund research to discover a cure.
Or become an Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Island Chapter volunteer to fight against Alzheimer’s disease. From planning an event to hosting a support group to providing office support, there are many ways to get involved. Go to www./alz.org/ri/volunteer to see opportunities that best fit your interests and availability.
Also, this month why not consider participating in the National Memory Screening Program. This free program is available provides confidential memory screenings to anyone who is interested in finding out if they are experience memory problems.
Finally, in November take a moment to contact the Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Island Chapter to discover the variety of programs and services (most are free) available for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders and their caregivers.
Here is a sampling…
Call the Alzheimer’s Association Helpline, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to get details on Alzheimer’s disease or memory loss, medication and treatment options, improving brain health and care options. Find out ways how this Association can help you and be referred to other community services. Obtain caregiving tips, emotional support, and respite care options, too.
Professional staff at the Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Island Chapter can help assist persons with Alzheimer’s and caregivers through the difficult decisions making process at every stage of the disease. Care consulting services can provide you with assessment of need, assistance with planning and problem solving and supportive listening.
Join a support group, facilitated by trained volunteers. There are specialized groups for children, those with early-onset and early-state Alzheimer’s, and adult caregivers.
Persons with dementia and caregivers can even join the Alzheimer’s Association message boards and online chat rooms provide an online community Its message boards have thousands of registered members residing across the nation and thousands more who refer to the stories and information that is available 24 hours a day.
The Alzheimer’s Association also offers dozens of fact sheets and brochures and family guides, including “Taking Control: A guide for Early-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease;” “A Guide for Families Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s Disease or a Related Dementia,” and “Later Stage Alzheimer’s Disease: A Caregiver’s Guide.”
And, the Early-Stage Social Engagement Program is offered to those persons who have a diagnosis of early memory loss. The program focuses on maintaining the quality of one’s life as the afflicted person learn to communicate with others on what it’s like having memory loss so to maintain an active lifestyle. The program also gives participants the opportunity to exercise, learn ways to manage the changes in memory from each other and group facilitators trained by the Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Island Chapter. Simultaneously, the program provides time for caregivers an opportunity to take time off their caregiving chores to recharge their batteries.
For more details about Alzheimer’s Association programs or services listed above and others, or to reach it’s 24/7 Helpline, call 800.272.3900 any time, day or night.