The year 2020 was like no other for life in America as we knew it. Our world was turned upside down and the future is still uncertain. Fast forward to a person suffering from Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia. Their world has been devastated by COVID. The pandemic rules of social distancing, self isolation, sheltering in place, wearing masks and limited outside activities have further complicated the lives of those living with dementia and their families. We know people with ANY form of dementia need a set routine, a secure living environment and a strong support network of family and friends. Any changes take away the security dementia patients need to feel safe. The Alzheimer’s Association has many resources and information available to help the 3,000 people and their families living with Alzheimer’s in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.
The Alzheimer’s Association’s vision is “A World Without Alzheimer’s And All Other Dementia.” They are the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s research, care and support. They fund research in 31 countries worldwide, provide care and support through many different programs. They provide tools to educate the public, medical profession and lawmakers to help diagnose the disease, learn the warning signs, what therapies and resources are available and the need for funding. This year’s goal is to improve how our healthcare system diagnoses and manages Alzheimer’s and dementia.
California Senate Bill 48 would establish standards for physician and caregiver training and ongoing education for treating Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
Alzheimer’s is one type of dementia that affects a person’s memory, thinking abilities and behavior. Dementia, a general term, describes a decline in one’s mental ability which causes interference with a person’s daily life. Alzheimer’s is a specific disease, dementia is not. Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, has three specific types. Late-onset, the most common form, affects about 50 percent of people age 85 or older. Early-onset affects people under 65 and familial, the rarest form, is genetic.
A valuable resource is the 24/7 toll free helpline (800-272-3900) staffed by professionals. One can learn about the warning signs of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, local programs and services, medications, treatment options and speak confidentially about your concerns. The bilingual staff can accommodate more than 200 languages.
Locally, we have information printed in English and Spanish on several different topics relating to Alzheimer’s. In this new age of everything online, one can find many different educational resources and a wealth of information available to watch in the comfort of your own home. Visit the Alzheimer’s website at Alz.org and explore all the resources, education programs and up to date information available to help you learn about this devastating disease and what is being done to combat it. Questions? Contact Kim Coelho, Community Engagement Manager, 707-407-8826 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To donate, mail your check to P.O.Box 2542, McKinleyville, CA. 95519. Put Visiting Angels on the memo line. Alzheimer’s hasn’t stopped and neither will we until we find a cure!
Source: Alzheimer’s website, alz.org.
Alzheimer’s Association advocacy chair Lynn McKenna resides in Eureka.