By Contributed Report
Posted Nov. 24, 2014 @ 2:01 am
RICHMOND — In 1983, President Ronald Reagan, who was later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Fourteen years later, in 1997, President Bill Clinton named the week of Thanksgiving as a time to honor the caregiver. This designation has since been expanded to the entire month as National Family Caregivers Month.
As an organization founded by caregivers, the Alzheimer’s Association applauds caregivers and hopes to make their efforts a little easier year round with a wide array of innovative resources that have been designed specifically with the thousands of affected families in mind.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures publication, in Virginia there are an estimated 130,000 people living with Alzheimer’s and 447,000 unpaid caregivers providing nearly $6.4-million in care to their loved ones.
The Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter strives to assist these families in a variety of ways in order to best meet their needs by offering free resources such as:
Alzheimer’s Association Helpline (1-800-272-3900): This toll-free 24/7 Helpline is the only one of its kind; the Helpline is staffed by counselors and provides information and guidance in more than 170 languages and dialects.
Care Consultation: The Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter’s staff is dedicated to helping people navigate through the difficult decisions and uncertainties people with Alzheimer’s and their families face at every stage of the disease. Care consultation services can be given to you by telephone, e-mail or in person. These services include assessment of needs, assistance with planning and problem solving, and supportive listening.
Support Groups: Each month, the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter conducts Support Group meetings to provide the community with an opportunity to meet for mutual support and to exchange coping skills. These groups provide the opportunity for participants to maintain their own health and well-being, while enhancing their ability to care for their loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Education Programs: Each month, the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter offers many educational programs to address the specific interests of the general public, individuals with the disease and their families.
MedicAlert+Safe Return: Live 24-hour emergency response service for wandering and medical emergencies. In a move to significantly improve the safety of individuals with Alzheimer’s, the Alzheimer’s Association and the MedicAlert Foundation have created an alliance to bring you MedicAlert®+Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return®.
ComfortZone: Comfort Zone® uses the Internet and a device to track the location of a person with Alzheimer’s. Users setup safety zones in a Web application and receive alerts when their loved ones leave the zone.
Respite Care Scholarships: Finding a respite care provider, someone to temporarily provide expert Alzheimer’s care, can be a challenge. The Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter has the resources to link caregivers with respite care providers. For personal caregivers that need a break but do not have the resources to hire someone to help, the Chapter can provide respite care scholarships.
The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center (alz.org/care): This site provides more than 70 pages of information and easy access to resources, such as: Community Resource Finder; Care Team Calendar to coordinate caregiving responsibilities among family and friends; Safety Center where individuals can access information and resources for safety inside and outside of the home; and ALZconnected (alzconnected.org), the first social networking community designed for people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. ALZConnected is a specialized social network that allows members to connect and communicate with people who understand their unique challenges 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Clinical Trials: The Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch® is a free, easy-to-use clinical studies matching service that connects individuals with Alzheimer’s, caregivers, healthy volunteers and physicians with current studies. The continuously updated database of 130+ Alzheimer’s clinical trials includes both pharmacological (drug) and non-pharmacological (non-drug) studies being conducted at nearly 500 trial sites across the country.
“The Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter’s care consultation service answered many of the questions my father and I had about my mother’s dementia,” said Terri Herndon. “The Chapter has made a tremendous difference in helping my father and I get through each day as my mom’s caregivers.”
About Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter
The Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter was established in 1981 and its mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. The Greater Richmond Chapter serves those in need across 24 counties and five cities. The chapter services persons with any dementia disease, not just individuals with Alzheimer’s, and serves over 11,000 individuals a year. Ninety percent of services are offered free of charge. For more information, please visit www.alz.org/grva.