MAY 2013

I Do It For Grandma And My Family's Future
by Rebecca Kmett, volunteer from Ankeny, Iowa

My grandmother, Darlene, holding my newborn daughter, Kalina, at her baby blessing in 2008.
On July 31st, I lost my grandmother after a 10-year-battle with Alzheimer's disease. When I was small, I loved having sleepovers at my grandmother's house, giggling and talking with her late into the night. Grandma Darlene used to hold my hand, sew my dresses, lend me her jewelry for playing dress up, and send me home with lilac springs from the bushes outside her window.
The night before she died, we had our last sleepover together, this time at the nursing home. Being there for her was the greatest privilege of my life. When she died, my hand was on her heart. I picked out a beautiful red suit for her funeral, tracked down just the right gold earrings, and found flowers in the colors I knew she would like best.
The Iowa delegation to the National Advocacy Forum, where Senator Tom Harkin was honored with the Humanitarian Award for his work to end Alzheimer's. (Rebecca front left)
At the Alzheimer's Association's Advocacy Forum in April, our Iowa delegation shared stories of hope and loss. We appealed to our congressional leaders to devise an adequate response to one of the most pressing health crises of our time. We were there when NIH Director Francis Collins pledged $40 million specifically for Alzheimer's research. We were there when country artist Glen Campbell's daughter Ashley talked about the prospect of losing her dad to the disease. And we were there when Advocate of the Year Ron Grant, a former chaplain from Oklahoma living with Alzheimer's disease, asked the nearly 1,000 individuals assembled in Washington, D.C., "How many more families are going to have to suffer the devastation of this disease? How many more of us are going to have to die before we stand up and say enough?"
If you have been thinking about getting involved in the fight against Alzheimer's and dementia, don't wait. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. But we have today. And today is enough.
>Read the latest National Public Policy updates.
>Learn what's been happening with Public Policy in Iowa and Illinois



Mediterranean Diet May Slow Cognitive Decline in Non-Diabetics
In an article published April 30 in the journal Neurology, researchers found that adults without diabetes who adhered to the Mediterranean Diet were 19 percent less likely to have cognitive decline over the four-year period of the study. However, the same association was not found in people with diabetes. This was the largest study to date (17,000+ participants) to find the association between this dietary pattern and reduced risk of cognitive impairment. 
While the association between Mediterranean Diet and reduced cognitive decline has been suggested previously in other research studies, the authors believe this is the largest population in whom adherence to Mediterranean Diet was associated with a lower incidence of decline in memory and thinking abilities. In this study, the association was not true for people with diabetes.
Currently, there is no definitive prescription for preventing dementia due to Alzheimer's or reducing your risk. The good news is that there is emerging evidence of steps you can take to help keep your brain healthier as you age.  In addition, many experts believe that controlling cardiovascular risk factors may be the most helpful approach to protecting brain health.

The Healing Power of Music     


We have written many articles on the power of music for those living with a form of dementia, but what about the benefits of music and the words to songs that can help family members living through the disease find peace?  "Music links us to our world and provides a pathway back to our past." (Toll/Bareham, 2013).

Marie Sawall, musician, was moved to write a song for her neighbor and family, as their mother (Ruth) suffered with Alzheimer's for many years.  Marie watched as this disease stole Ruth and was moved to use her music to comfort the family, "As I could not imagine spending time with my mom and her not knowing me."  The power of music.  The power of words.  Listen now to "Ruth's Grace" by Marie Sawall.

Ruth's Grace
Ruth's Grace
>Read the article called "The Healing Power of Music" and learn more about how music can help organize the brain. (Toll/Bareham, 2013)
>Download a copy of the words to "Ruth's Grace". (Sawall, 2008).  Marie is also available to sing this song at events.  To contact her call 920.379.5353 or email at


Work Cited: 

Toll, Steve & Bareham, Linda (May 22, 2013). The Healing Power of Music.  Today's Caregiver.  Retrieved from
Sawall, Marie. "Ruth's Grace." Copyright 2008.

Coach Paul & Vickie Rhoads - 2012 A Ride to Remember
If you haven't heard yet, Iowa State Head Football Coach, Paul Rhoads and family are making it their mission to stop Alzheimer's. 
Coach speaks with passion of a disease that stole his mother from him.  "From Day 1 when I got into coaching, I aspired to become a head football coach. For my mother never to witness that is painful."
Rhoads' Family Picture - 2007:  (back) Paul Rhoads, Tony Rhoads, Sue Jennings, Sandy Macklin, & Marce Huhn.  (front) Mary & Cecil Rhoads
On Saturday, June 15th Coach will lead nearly 1,000 motorcycles on the annual A Ride to Remember event to raise funds and awareness for the Alzheimer's Association, Greater Iowa Chapter.  All are welcome to join us in support of Coach and his efforts.  Can't ride but want to donate, that's an option too, just call the office at 515.440.2722! 
All riders are encouraged to pre-register by May 31st in order to ensure your shirt will be available at the event (those registering after that date may be asked to pick up their shirts at a later date).
>For more event details, click here.
>View some articles from Media Day to hear more of Coach's story.


A Ride to Remember
June 15, 2013
Ames, IA
Caregiver Conference
August 22, 2013
Fort Dodge, IA
Walk to End Alzheimer's
September - October

Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC)


Registration now open! At the Alzheimer's Association International Conference, history never repeats itself. Every year, thousands of the world's leading dementia researchers gather to share new discoveries and innovative ideas in a forum that defines the field. At AAIC 2013 in Boston (July 13-18), we'll celebrate 25 years of progress while shaping the future of dementia science. 
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Community Resource Finder 


Access comprehensive listings of Alzheimer's resources, community programs and services, and events in your area by clicking the CALENDAR button below.


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"Why We Sponsor"  




"As part of the local community, we at Dex One share the vision of a world without Alzheimer's and are proud to support the Alzheimer's Association in this mission." 



Melissa Kramer
Communications Director
Alzheimer's Association, Greater Iowa Chapter