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What is the Alzheimer's Association and how can it help me?

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Updated July 05, 2010

Question: What is the Alzheimer's Association and how can it help me?
Answer:

The Alzheimer's Association is a nonprofit organization whose vision is a world without Alzheimer's disease. In addition to its goal of eliminating Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research, it provides supportive programs and services to help people with Alzheimer's and their caregivers deal with the disease and its impact on their lives. Each chapter in their nationwide network provides five core services that will be described in this article, and some individual chapters provide special programs such as training programs for families and professionals.

Five Core Services of the Alzheimer's Association

Information and Referral:

  • chapter helplines provide information and emotional support to the caller
  • chapters maintain updated information on home care, adult day care, care coordination, eldercare lawyers, financial planners, and transportation
  • staff and trained volunteers can help assess whether a person with Alzheimer's needs are being met
  • chapters maintain web sites with resources and links
  • publications are available about Alzheimer's disease, caregiving, financial and legal matters

Care Consultation:

  • Whether by telephone, email, or in-person, staff help navigate families through the different stages of dementia
  • planning for long-term care and other difficult decisions

Support Groups:

  • Led by professionals or peers, support groups are terrific opportunities to share emotions and ideas with others who are experiencing the challenges and stresses that inevitably accompany Alzheimer's disease.
  • Many locations offer specialized groups for children and individuals with early stage and early onset Alzheimer's.

Safety Services:

  • Chapters promote and encourage people with Alzheimer's to enroll in both the Safe Return and MedicAlert programs.
  • Chapters assist law enforcement with medical emergencies and episodes of wandering

Education:

  • Chapters maintain a variety of educational materials on topics related to Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.
  • Chapters provide educational programs and customized speaking engagements. When HBO aired the multi-part special The Alzheimer's Project, members of local chapters were present for airings of the show in assisted living facilities and other venues to assist with explanations and interpretations of the content.

Since chapter programs are tailored to the communities they serve, it is important to contact your local chapter to find out more about the services offered.

Other notable aspects of the Alzheimer's Association include its annual Memory Walk, the nation's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's care, support and research, as well as its annual International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease. The Alzheimer's Association awards millions of dollars in research grants, and its advocates educate Congress on critical Alzheimer's policy issues.

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