2011 Alz Logo 

24/7 Helpline: 800.272.3900  |  www.alz.org

February 2012 eNews

Sign the Petition to President Obama 

The time is now.  We need everyone to sign the Petition to President Obama.

From Act to Action

The United States government is listening.  They have committed an immediate $50 million for Alzheimer's research and a total of $130 million to research, caregiver support and education over the next two years. It's a great first step. Join the more than 90,000 people who have already signed the petition.  

We know there are countless more advocates ready to join our cause. That's why we have increased our goal to 250,000.

Sign now! 

"Alzheimer's can't wait"
This was the sentiment expressed by Harry Johns, President and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association during the second meeting of the Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care and Services held January 17-18 in Washington, D.C. Charged with providing recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the development of the National Alzheimer's Plan, the Advisory Council put forward goals and strategies to change the trajectory of Alzheimer's disease.

With as many as 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer's and nearly 15 million friends and family members providing care for them, the need to develop an "urgent, achievable and accountable strategy" was on the minds of Advisory Council members. HHS recently outlined its timetable for the development of a National Alzheimer's Plan, with the first draft targeted for mid-February and a final plan slated to be released in late spring. Advisory Council members shared their recommendations on what they believe must be included in an effective national strategic plan touching on areas from funding for research to clinical care to long term services and support.


The next in-person meeting of the Advisory Council is scheduled for April 17, but you can read the current Draft Framework for the National Alzheimer's Plan right now. Please share your feedback on the draft with us.

Chapter Updates

I hope everyone is enjoying our mild winter! It almost feels like spring. It also feels a little like spring at the Michigan Great Lakes Chapter as we celebrate new beginnings.  

  • We were proud to welcome Ann Marie Bourdon to our Lansing office last month as our new Development Coordinator. She has already met many wonderful volunteers and leaders in the community and is helping to plan an exciting new fundraiser.  
  • We have launched our new Walk to End Alzheimer's websites and have had our first Walk donations of the 2012 season! We are also excited to announce a new Walk in Monroe this fall! 
  • We support the unveiling of ALZConnected - an online social networking community for people with Alzheimer's, their caregivers and others - www.alzconnected.org
  • We are preparing to introduce Alzheimer's Navigator - an amazing online assessment program to help caregivers and people with dementia evaluate their needs, execute action steps, and connect with local programs and services. 
  • Next month, we will proudly release our 2011 Annual Report which will include a timeline commemorating our 30th anniversary as a chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. 
  • Our Kalamazoo staff has moved to a new home!  We have had the good fortune to secure space in the Columbia Plaza in downtown Kalamazoo. It is in a great location with ample parking for our guests. We are looking forward to a long relationship with our new landlord and a strong presence in the Kalamazoo community.  Please come visit us in our new location! 

Alzheimer's Association, Michigan Great Lakes Chapter

Columbia Plaza

350 E. Michigan Avenue, Suite 20 

Kalamazoo, MI  49007

Map and directions
Phone:  269.342.1482 

Fax:  269.488.3622     



Jenn Picture  

Jenn's Signature
Jennifer Howard
Executive Director


Annual Appeal and NuStep
nustep-color.jpgOur Annual Appeal was a huge success thanks to our longtime community partner NuStep and their commitment to match all funds donated, up to $12,500!!  We surpassed our appeal goal by raising $25,598 (which includes NuStep's contribution).  Thank you to the donors who participated in this amazing opportunity to double their donations!

February is Black History Month

There is a prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias in older whites, African-Americans and Hispanics.  While most people in the United States living with Alzheimer's and other dementias are non-Hispanic whites, older African-Americans and Hispanics are proportionately more likely than older whites to have Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.  Data indicate that in the United States, older African-Americans are probably about twice as likely to have Alzheimer's and other dementias as older whites, and Hispanics are about one and one-half times as likely to have Alzheimer's and other dementias as older whites.  Learn more in a special report on race, ethnicity and Alzheimer's disease in 2011 Alzheimer's Facts and Figures 


Stress Relief for the African-American Caregiver


African-Americans Leading the Way

Solomon Carter Fuller, M.D., was one of the first known black psychiatrists and worked alongside Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who first discovered the traits of Alzheimer's disease in 1901.  Learn More.

Hilarity for Charity Attended by Local Family

January 13

Vibiana LA | Los Angeles, California


Hilarity for CharityThe first annual Hilarity for Charity benefiting the Alzheimer's Association was hosted by Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller and showcased a night of laughter and entertainment - featuring stand-up comedy, a live DJ and dancing.


Adrian resident Nikki Dodson first learned of this event from a Facebook posting through the Alzheimer's Association.  After looking into it further, she sent a general email to thank them for hosting a great benefit, to wish them luck, and to explain why this event was so important - her husband Ken was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease three years ago at the early age of 30. They have three children, and the struggles that they face each day continue to increase as the progression of the disease decreases Ken's ability to live a normal life.  They were impressed that the event was not only focusing on Alzheimer's - but Early Onset.  It was aimed on educating a younger generation and inspiring them to donate to a worthy cause in an evening of fun and laughter.


Within a few hours, she received an email from Lauren personally, and after a few corresponding emails, she invited Nikki and Ken to attend the sold out fundraiser.  Although she was very excited to partake in such an incredible event, it was very difficult for Ken to travel.  Since the event was being held on the same day as their daughter Kennedy's birthday, Nikki asked if it was possible for her to join them. Lauren was happy to accommodate their request.


Dodson Family at Hilarity"The cab ride to the event was probably the scariest experience of our lives. We have officially found someone who is a worse driver than I am," said Nikki. They arrived at the magnificently decorated Vibiana theatre and walked down the beautiful Purple Carpet dressed in style.  They were overwhelmed by how many people were there to support the cause. It was truly an emotional moment for their family. 


As they sat waiting for the festivities to begin, Lauren came over and introduced herself.  Nikki and her family were truly impressed by what an amazing, talented, and courageous woman Lauren was. "She gave us heartfelt hugs and wished our daughter a happy birthday.  She shared with us that she also has a family member affected by this disease and has the same goal as everyone there - to find a cure," said Nikki.


The food, beverages, and hospitality of all those involved were amazing. The comedians were hilarious, the hosts were incredible, and DJ Pauly D from Jersey Shore was the highlight of Kennedy's birthday.  Bruno Mars closed out the evening with a spectacular performance like only he could do. Of course, the amount of money raised was a significant amount that will impact research greatly. 


Nikki and her family have made some wonderful friends and connections that will continue to grow along with a beautiful memory that will never be forgotten between a father and daughter. Nikki says, "Creating memories for a family who is affected with Alzheimer's may seem elusive; however, these memories are what continue to give our family hope and the drive to focus on a cure each day. We have not only found new friends in Lauren and Seth, but they will always be a part of our family.  There are no words to express our appreciation for all that they do for this cause."

Meet the Chapter Staff

We would like to introduce the chapter's longest-standing employee - Operations Director Charmaine VanDeCar.  She started working for the chapter in July 1999 as a temporary employee and was hired by the Association three months later. At that time, the chapter was known as the South Central Chapter and serviced only nine counties.  

Situations often happen for a reason - soon after being hired by the Association, her mother developed vascular dementia, and their family was having all kinds of problems with her.  Charmaine felt so fortunate that she could turn to the chapter's social worker for guidance and information, and she was blessed to have this help available to her.  She was so proud to work for such an amazing organization that would walk individuals and families through difficult times and educate them on how to make the best decisions possible for their loved ones.


In her role as Operations Director, she essentially makes sure that the staff and offices have the tools and resources they need to operate effectively.  She also has finance responsibilities, human resource knowledge, donor records, purchasing, plus 'trouble shooter extraordinaire'.


She loves that we help people.  It is most gratifying for her when someone expresses how much the Alzheimer's Association services have helped them and their family.  She loves working with staff that are dedicated professionals who have a strong desire to help our constituents.


In her spare time, she loves spending time with her family.  It is so satisfying for her to see her children grown up and all the accomplishments that they have made already as young adults.  She is thrilled to have her first grandchild and spend lots of time with him.


Charmaine works in the Chelsea office and can be reached at Charmaine.VanDeCar@alz.org or 734.475.7043. 

Caring for the Caregiver

Caregivers - Protect Your Health!


Everyone tells caregivers to take responsibility for their own health. You hear it on TV and  read it in magazines. Prevention is the message of the day.
Credit to Alzheimer's Association/Chris Kirzeder
Unfortunately, family caregivers as a rule do not always do a good job of taking care of themselves. They are always putting their loved one's health and well-being first. After that, there is not much time or energy left for the caregivers.

The research is clear! The extreme stress that many family caregivers experience has been shown to affect their immune systems making them more prone to chronic illnesses. It can cause premature aging and in some cases result in premature death.

  • If you are run down or tiring more than usual, will you be able to provide good care?
  • If you have a cold or the flu, will your loved one catch it from you?
  • If you become depressed, will you be able to make good decisions and will life become unbearable?
  • If you are not well, who will fill your shoes - whether temporarily or permanently?

These are not questions to be taken lightly. Your own good health is the best present you can provide to the person you care for.

As caregivers it is important you recognize and not ignore the physical and emotional symptoms which may impact your own health and well-being.  You need to guard against caregiver burnout and avoid becoming overly tired and exhausted which can reduce your own body's ability to ward off illness. 

It is important to remember to create balance between caring for others and caring for yourselves.  But how?  You begin by believing - truly believing - that protecting your health is an absolutely critical thing to do for yourself and your loved one. You may not be able to do this easily, especially if guilt tends to get in your way; but, it is vital that you try.

  • Take a daily vitamin supplement
  • Get exercise - make it a priority for both your mental and physical well-being
  • Get regular check-ups and do not ignore possible symptoms of ill health
  • Take a break from caregiving - respite time is crucial
  • Get a flu shot
  • Watch for signs of depression
  • Stay involved in hobbies
  • Laugh with a friend

If you are a caregiver and concerned with your stress level, check out our website at www.alz.org and take the caregiver stress test!  Don't fail to discuss these issues with your own physician, and call our 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900 to talk over any caregiving situations that are causing stress or distress for you or the person to whom you are providing care.

Virtual Library 

The Alzheimer's Association has a Virtual Library - Green-Field Library - www.alz.org/libraryWe're here to help you get answers to your questions and to dig deeply into topics that are important to you. The Green-Field Library is the nation's largest library and resource center devoted to increasing knowledge about Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Our expert library staff fulfills thousands of inquiries each year, serving a variety of audiences.

Upcoming Conference and

Community Education Programs

Schreiber Conference

 Alzheimer's Disease - The Heart of the Matter
 April 13-14, 2012
 Western Michigan University's Fetzer Center, Kalamazoo



Absolute Homecare Presenting Sponsor for the

10th Schreiber Conference Featuring Mary Ellen Geist

Conference to Showcase "The Heart of the Matter"


Absolute Homecare
Becky Bigelow and Bobbie Ray, Co-owners of Absolute Homecare

The Alzheimer's Association, Michigan Great Lakes Chapter in partnership with Presenting Sponsor Absolute Homecare and Medical Staffing are pleased to present the 10th Dr. Richard Seyfarth Schreiber Memorial Conference.  Friday will feature a Professional Conference (CEUs available), and Saturday's Caregiver Conference will educate family caregivers and other community members who are touched by Alzheimer's disease (complimentary respite services available).


Mary Ellen GeistMary Ellen Geist, author of Measure of the Heart: A Father's Alzheimer's, A Daughter's Return, will deliver the keynote address titled "The Heart of the Matter". Mary Ellen is a graduate of Kalamazoo College and a former broadcast journalist of 20 years. When her father's Alzheimer's disease became too much for her mother to shoulder alone, she gave up her career as a CBS Radio anchor in New York to return to her childhood home in Northern Michigan. Her insightful book has served as a source of inspiration for millions of caregivers.


Conference sessions will be led by professionals in the dementia care field and will feature presentations on topics including: Dementia and Crisis Inpatient Care; Dementia and the Arts; Sexuality and Intimacy; Advances in Alzheimer's Research; End of Life/Palliative Care; Communication Challenges; and Legal Issues. A complete list of presentation topics will be available online soon at ww.alz.org/mglc.


The Schreiber Conference is made possible in part by a gift from the Schreiber family, formerly of Kalamazoo, in memory of Dr. Richard Seyfarth Schreiber.


Registration opens in mid-February. For more information, please call the Kalamazoo office of the Alzheimer's Association at 269.342.1482 or visit www.alz.org/mglc.   

Upcoming Community Education Programs by Region


  • Know the 10 Signs:  Early Detection Matters 
  • Memory Loss, Dementia, and Alzheimer's:  The Basics 
  • Living With Alzheimer's:  For Mid-Stage Caregivers 
  • HBO Alzheimer's Project

Participate in an online e-Learning course training: 

10 signs logoCreating Confident Caregivers is a special grant-funded program for families caring for someone with memory loss. Regional Area Agencies on Aging along with community partners are offering this series, a university-tested program designed to increase caregiver skills, knowledge and outlook. The class is free and respite is available at no cost.


    MONROE:  March 6, 13, 20, 27 and April 3, 10 from 1:00 - 3:00 PM
    Frenchtown Senior Center, 2786 Vivian Rd.
    Call for more information/register at 800.852.7795

    BATTLE CREEK:  March 6, 13, 20, 27 and April 3, 10 from 1:00 - 3:00 PM
    Burnham Brook Community Center
    Call for more information/register at 269.441.0920

    ANN ARBOR:  June 5, 12, 19, 26 and July 3, 10 from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    The Oaks Adult Day Services, Church of Christ Neighborhood Center, 2500 S. Main
    Call for more information/register at 800.852.7795     


Advances in Alzheimer's Research

Prepare to take Alzheimer's research to the next level



Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2012

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

July 14-19, 2012




Public Policy

Join us at our Advocacy Forum
Voice - AdvocacyMembers of Congress have heard the voices of people from across the country, but now they need to hear from you in person. Join a nationwide group of advocates on April 23-25 in Washington, D.C., for the Alzheimer's Association´┐Ż Advocacy Forum. Together we'll take our message directly to Congress and fight for a future without Alzheimer's disease.  Please visit www.alz.org/forum to register. 

2012 Walk to End Alzheimer's

     The end of Alzheimer's starts here... 


It is with great excitement that the Michigan Greats Lakes Chapter announces that we will be kicking off a Walk to End Alzheimer's in Monroe this fall! 


The Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's is the nation's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's care, support, and research.  Today there are an estimated 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease and nearly 15 million people providing care.


We are looking for people in Monroe county that would like to get involved!  We hope you will consider joining the Walk to End Alzheimer's and unite in a movement to reclaim the future for millions.  We are looking for volunteers to serve on the planning committee, start a team, help spread the word, and be a part of making the inaugural Monroe Walk to End Alzheimer's a success!


If you would like to get involved, please contact Anne Zerbe, Development Coordinator for the South Central Region, at 734.475.7043 or anne.zerbe@alz.org.   


Together, we can end Alzheimer's - the nation's sixth-leading cause of death. 

Walk - girls
Are you ready to get involved?


Join us for a walk near you

Registration is now open




Ann Arbor  |  Brighton  |  Calhoun County  |  Fremont
Jackson  |   Kalamazoo  |  Lansing  |  Lenawee County
Ludington  |  Monroe (NEW)  |  Muskegon  |   St. Joseph

Congratulations to our first Champion Team of the 2012 Walk season: 

  •  White Oaks

Events and Fundraisers

Run to Remember Update

Bryan running

Congratulations to Bryan Applin!  This Western Michigan University student from Monroe raised over $2,500 for the Alzheimer's Association by running from Kalamazoo to South Haven one bitter cold morning.  He was scheduled to make the run on Saturday, January 14 in the wake of a heavy snowfall.  Due to safety concerns, Bryan rescheduled the run for the following morning - enduring bitter cold and wind to honor his grandmother Betty.  The almost 40-mile journey took most of the day, but he was invigorated by the memory of his grandmother's enduring spirit throughout her life.  Bryan continues to collect donations toward the Run to Remember and already has plans to make the event an annual race utilizing the Kal-Haven trail.  Great job Bryan!

What's It Worth?  Antique Appraisals Show

February 18  |  10:30 AM - 12:30 PM or until last customer is served

Grandhaven Manor Elegant Retirement Community  |  3215 W. Mt. Hope Ave.  |  Lansing 
Grandhaven Manor
There will be three professional appraisers, who have generously given their time for our cause. The first two appraisals per person are $5 each and $2 each thereafter.  All proceeds will benefit the Alzheimer's Association, Michigan Great Lakes Chapter.  Hope to see you there! 

If you would like more information or have any questions, please call 517.372.4499. 

Comedy to End Alzheimer's

March 15-16  |  8:00 PM

Connxtions Comedy Club  |  2900 North East Street  |  Lansing

Download the flyer to distribute to friends and family


Angie AmmanEver since Angie Amman can remember - she felt the need to do something meaningful with her life. When she was 16, she took care of a woman with Alzheimer's disease - she knew this was what she wanted to do. She has continued to work in nursing homes, small group homes, and private homes assisting patients with Alzheimer's disease and their families. She is even pursing her Bachelor's Degree in Health Service Administration with a specialty in long-term care with the intention of opening her own home for patients with Alzheimer's someday. Taking care of people with this devastating disease and educating people have been an important part of her life for the last 15 years and will continue to be for many years to come.


Comedy is also a huge part of her life. Working with people being affected by Alzheimer's disease and taking care of dying patients takes a toll on people emotionally, mentally, and physically. She relies on comedy and laughter to get her through the days. This is what has led her to partner with Connxtions Comedy Club in hosting the 1st Annual Comedy to End Alzheimer's on March 15 and 16. She hopes to sell 700 tickets to these two shows with partial proceeds benefiting the Lansing Walk to End Alzheimer's. There will also be a 50/50 raffle at each show and handmade plush owls to purchase to benefit the association as well.


If you would like to purchase tickets or would like more information, please contact Angie at 517.488.8467 or angie@connxtions.net.

A Night of Music For Rosie

March 22  |  5:30 PM

Mangia Mangia  |  209 South Kalamazoo Mall  |  Kalamazoo 


Rosemary Dacoba D'Arienzo was diagnosed in 2001 with early onset Alzheimer's disease at the startling age of 50.  Over the last decade, this diagnosis slowly began to steal away her career as a speech pathologist, her independence, and her memories.  Rosie's husband Peter diligently and lovingly cares for her, and like so many persons with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers today, Peter and Rosie need our help.  Before her diagnosis, Rosie enjoyed listening to traditional Italian music and singing along. Now music is one of very few things that brings a spark back to her eyes.


We hope you will join us on March 22 at the Dacoba family restaurant Mangia Mangia for a fun night out with family and friends for a good cause!  Come learn more about the Alzheimer's Association.  Sample the menu of authentic Italian food and wine, accompanied by several WMU student musicians singing and playing traditional Italian music.


If you are interested in hosting a table for six or ten people, or if you would like more information, please contact Laura Wilson of the Alzheimer's Association at 269.342.1482 or laura.wilson@alz.org

Volunteers Needed

Data entryOur chapter is currently looking for individuals to assist with data entry in the Chelsea office during normal business hours between 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM (flexible hours based on your availability).  Basic computer skills required; experience preferred.  


If you are interested in learning more about becoming part of our team, please complete the Volunteer Application and fax it to the number indicated, or you may contact Lori Ezrow at 734.475.7043 or Lori.Ezrow@alz.org to get started. 

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