Happy New Year! I hope that you all had peaceful and joyful holidays with your loved ones. The winter months can sometimes be a slower fundraising time for our organization, but typically, they are incredibly busy with needs from our families who seek our services. Often, when we return from time with our own families, we see an increase in calls and emails from concerned family members. Many times, symptoms of memory loss, often compensated for, become much more apparent during stressful times or during visits with loved ones after long periods away.
We are committed to helping each family member individually with questions or concerns about loved ones or their own memory changes. Is it Alzheimer's? Is it normal aging? Should I even be worried? I always advise people that it is normal to see changes in memory as people age, but if they are concerned, they should really find out more information and talk to a doctor about what they are experiencing. We can help with this! Please call our 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900 or visit www.alz.org.
We are very fortunate to have the help and support of longtime community partner NuStep Corporation to keep these vital services going throughout the year. Right now, we are in the middle of our annual appeal campaign. NuStep Corporation has agreed to match all funds donated, up to $12,500!! So far, we have raised $9,300 towards this match. We only have $3,200 to reach our goal and the matching amount! This is an incredible opportunity for the Alzheimer's Association but also for donors to double their contributions. If your company has a matching program, you could triple your annual contribution! We want to thank NuStep Corporation for their commitment to ending Alzheimer's and to supporting our communities during this fight! If you would like more information, please call 734.475.7043. Donations for the matching program can also be sent directly to the Alzheimer's Association, Attn: Annual Appeal, 310 North Main, Suite 100, Chelsea, MI 48118.
Best wishes again for a happy and healthy 2012!
Please join us in welcoming the newest addition to our Development Team - Ann Bourdon. Beginning on January 9, she will serve as the Development Coordinator in our Lansing office. Ann will be managing all fund development in the Capital Area Region, including the region's Walks to End Alzheimer's.
Ann is a Grand Valley State graduate. Her successful event background includes a contribution to Reggie Award winning marketing campaigns and cooperative events with several non-profit organizations. Health, education, and volunteerism are important in her life, and she takes an active role in her community. Her hobbies include reading, writing, yoga, painting, photography, self-development, and the great outdoors. She looks forward to increasing awareness for the Alzheimer's Association.
You can reach Ann at 517.999.3004 or Ann.Bourdon@alz.org.
Family Caregiver Self Care....
Taking Care of Yourself as You Provide Care to Others
by Barb Betts Swartz, Program Director
Caregivers often feel isolated and overburdened and report that they experience guilt about having those very feelings. Actually, those emotions are very universal among caregivers and can be easily explained and justified! The most common feelings shared by family caregivers are:
Caregiving is an unplanned or unexpected event - none of us 'sign on' as caregivers, do we? Someone we love or for whom we are responsible becomes ill and/or incapacitated and all of a sudden, our previous relationships change to accommodate new roles and responsibilities. Every family caregiver was first a daughter, son, husband, wife, grandchild, sibling, etc. Caregiving is a new and multi-faceted role that can be isolating and over burdensome - especially when you try to 'go it alone'! Some quick facts about family caregivers:
- They provide 80% of community care
- 70% or more are women
- They provide 4 to 6 hours of hands-on care daily
- They provide care for 4 to 5 years on an average
- 30% of family caregivers are also employed
- A growing percentage of family caregivers also care for children
- They are more likely to have health and mental health problems than the general population
- They are only half as likely to seek medical help for their own health problems
Caregiving is an easier job to do if you can be clear with yourself about the objectives or goals of your caregiving. They might include providing for a family member's safety and comfort or meeting a family member's daily care needs. Another reasonable goal would include helping your family member be pleasantly involved given his/her interests and abilities. Hopefully, one goal of caregiving is for you, as the caregiver, to experience some self-fulfillment while you work to reduce suffering for your family member. You learn everything you can about the disease and its impact on your family member, and you learn to exercise 'beneficial control' when your family member experiences difficulties with decision making.
There are things you can do to take better care of yourself! Look at this list and see if you are taking as good care of yourself as you could be!
- Become an educated caregiver! Understand what's going on as early as possible and know what community resources are available
- Realize you can't do it alone and get help! Have a 'wish list' to refer to when people ask what they can do or how they can help. Use the community resources you identify!
- Recognize and deal with your feelings and find ways to manage your level of stress
- Accept changes as they occur and don't waste energy by denying the illness
- Make legal and financial plans
- Give yourself credit, not guilt!
- Visit your doctor regularly
If you are a family caregiver, we hope you will consider joining a support group! Learn more and call us at 800.272.3900 or visit us at www.alz.org!
|Upcoming Community Education Programs|
Alzheimer's Disease - The Heart of the Matter
April 13-14, 2012
Western Michigan University's Fetzer Center, Kalamazoo
Mary Ellen Geist
Author of "Measure of the Heart"
Her book chronicles her exit from a broadcast journalism career to assist with her father's care.
The brochure with full details will be available soon, and registration opens in mid-February. There will be two separate conferences.
- FRIDAY: Professional Conference (registration fee required)
- SATURDAY: Free Caregivers' Conference
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 Caregivers - Early Stage Series
If you are not available to attend a local program, participate in an online e-Learning course training:
Creating 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.
EAST LANSING: January 10 - February 14 from 2:00 - 4:00 PM
OKEMOS: January 16 - February 20 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM
Call for more information/register at 517-887-1447
MONROE: March 6-April 10 from 1:00 - 3:00 PM
Frenchtown Senior Center, 2786 Vivian Rd.
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
The Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) is the world's leading forum on dementia research. This annual conference serves as a catalyst for new knowledge about dementia and fosters a vital, collegial research community. The content presented at AAIC is created by researchers for their peers, serving to advance the areas of dementia science that are critical to the success of the field and the discovery of scientific breakthroughs leading to methods of prevention, treatment and, ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer's disease.
Join the world's leading dementia scientists to share the latest thoughts and theories in the field - and spark new ideas along the way. Listen as experts examine current studies and discuss promising developments. Share your work, advance emerging models and shape new ideas. Registration will be open soon - www.alz.org/aaic.
Help Us Increase Supportive Services for Volunteer Caregivers in the State of Michigan!
The Michigan Chapters of the Alzheimer's Association are currently encouraging the Michigan Congress to support a set of bills that would create a state income tax check-off for the Alzheimer's Association. The bills, sponsored by Senators Pappageorge and Warren in the Senate, have already been passed unanimously in the Senate. Currently the bills are being considered by the House of Representatives on the House Taxation Committee (House Bill 4518-19, introduced by Representative Lori). Should the bills pass, taxpayers would be able to donate a portion of their tax returns directly to the Alzheimer's Association, providing the Association with additional funds to increase the supportive services they provide for volunteer caregivers in Michigan.
Why Is This So Important? Over 70% of the 230,000 Michiganians diagnosed with dementia are cared for at home by family or friends. The Alzheimer's Association provides a 24 hour-a-day Helpline, support groups, and caregiver workshops as well as day programs and in-home care to help assist volunteer caregivers.
What Can You Do To Help? Please reach out to your local House Representative and ask them if they would be willing to support the Alzheimer's check-off legislation if the legislation goes to the House floor. If you need help determining who your representative is or any additional information, please contact Anne Zerbe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734.475.7043.
Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Forum
April 23-25, 2012 | Renaissance Hotel, D.C.
Make your VOICE heard! Every story matters, every story counts.
Amplify your VOICE by joining us this year as we convene in our nation's capital on April 23-25, 2012 for the Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Forum.
Help build the national movement to end Alzheimer's by being educated about legislative issues; networking with advocates from across the nation to make our case loud and clear as we demonstrate the commitment to advancing our legislative agenda and a world without Alzheimer's disease.
View registration information or register online now! Early bird registration is now open!
2012 Walk to End Alzheimer's
The end of Alzheimer's starts here...
We walk because...
- We have lost someone to Alzheimer's
- We are caring for someone with Alzheimer's
- We want to raise money for research
- It creates awareness in our community
- We support the Alzheimer's Association vision of a world without Alzheimer's
Why do you walk?
Join us in 2012
Registration opens January 19
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:
Alzheimer's Early Detection Alliance
The Alzheimer's Association Alzheimer Early Detection Alliance (AEDA) is a group of community, business, and professional organizations who recognize they can play a vital role in educating their members, their employees, and the public about the importance of brain health education and the warning signs of Alzheimer's.
Corporate involvement is essential in the promotion of a healthy workforce. Evidence suggests that as leaders of corporations promote a healthy workforce, employees listen and take action. The Alzheimer's Association would like to THANK the following companies for stepping up as inaugural members of the AEDA and helping promote the importance of Alzheimer's early detection:
CHAMPIONS: Each company agrees to educate individuals both internally and externally about Alzheimer's disease, the warning signs, and the importance of early detection. Each company's logo is placed on the AEDA website, and they will be recognized as an AEDA Champion. The company will also receive a special AEDA online toolkit and monthly AEDA newsletter.
MEMBERS: Each company agrees to educate individuals within their organization about Alzheimer's disease, the warning signs, and the importance of early detection of Alzheimer's. Each company name only will be recognized on the AEDA website. The company will also receive a special AEDA online toolkit and monthly AEDA newsletter.
Please take time to personally contact and thank each one of these companies - as they have proven themselves as leaders in the fight against Alzheimer's disease!
The great thing about AEDA is anyone can become a member! Participation in this Alliance does not require a financial contribution. What matters most is your ability to increase awareness among your own employee base and with other companies and organizations throughout the country.
The Alzheimer's Association invites you to learn more about the AEDA by visiting our website at www.alz.org/AEDA. Instructions for joining the AEDA are included on the website. If you have any questions about AEDA, please contact Beth Peck at 269.342.1482 or Beth.Peck@alz.org.
Run to Remember...
40 mile run from Kalamazoo to South Haven
Grandson Creates Run to Remember to Honor his Grandma
and to Benefit the Alzheimer's Association
A local young man will bear the cold weather on January 14 in a Run to Remember from Kalamazoo to South Haven. Bryan Applin is a student at Western Michigan University and created this event to honor and remember his grandmother, who passed away from Alzheimer's disease in 2007. He was only about five when she was diagnosed, and it was a slow process, so they felt really lucky to have that time with her. "I can't imagine what she had to go through - all that pain she couldn't communicate to us," says Bryan. "As with long distance running, you have to have a lot of drive to finish."
Bryan has enjoyed running since high school and plans to follow M-43 directly west from Kalamazoo to South Haven - totaling about 40 miles in projected near-freezing temperatures.
Bryan is originally from Monroe and is supported by Izzy Design in Grand Rapids. He hopes to raise awareness and funds to benefit the Alzheimer's Association. His goal for the Run to Remember is to make people aware of what persons with Alzheimer's disease go through and to educate them. He remembers they had a lot of frustration and it was hard to stay patient, but he feels you have to do it for that person.
For more information on Bryan's Run to Remember or to support him and this event, please call the Alzheimer's Association at 269.342.1482 or visit his blog:
Whether you have volunteered in the past or are trying to get involved for the first time, we welcome you!
The Alzheimer's Association, Michigan Great Lakes Chapter depends on thousands of volunteers to provide assistance to help us achieve our mission. Whether you can devote a couple of hours a week, a month, or make a more significant time commitment, we hope you will consider joining our team of caring and passionate people helping us to make a difference.
Our immediate needs include providing office support in the Chelsea office during normal business hours between 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. 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. We look forward to meeting you!