Weekly ACA’s Weekly Email January 1, 2021

Happy New Year from Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama!  Scroll down to read New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers.

ACA received a pair of tickets to the Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL on Feb. 7, 2021, from the National Football League Referee Association.  Stay tuned for raffle details!

Alabama Lifespan Respite January Webinars.  Register and see their complete list of offerings at https://alabamarespite.org/:

  • Depression and Suicide, January 8, 2 pm CT
  • Communicating Difficult Feelings, January 9, 10 am, CT
  • Men as Caregivers, January 18, 10 am, CT
  • The Power of Laughter, January, 23, 10 am, CT

Zoom Support Groups available online:

Alzheimer’s News:

12 New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers – adapted from our friends at West Alabama Area Agency on Aging

There is no way to be a perfect caregiver.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in the difficult feelings and the pressure that comes with this role. Every so often, caregivers need to remind themselves that they are doing their personal best. The new year is a perfect time to take inventory of your life and see what improvements you can make. Give yourself permission to not keep the following resolutions or to keep them only partway.

  1. When I feel I am imperfect, I will remember that guilt is not an option as long as I know I did the best I could, given the circumstances.
  2. I will find time alone for myself, even though that seems impossible. That may mean asking for help from people and resources I’ve never considered before.
  3. Regardless of how deserving the source, I will say no to requests for my time when I know I can’t add any more to my plate.
  4. I will remember that family members and friends who are not care receivers deserve some of my time. This may mean a little less of my attention will go to my care receiver, and that is okay.
  5. I will follow through with my own medical appointments and screenings, including dental cleanings and eye exams.
  6. I will find a way to monitor my own energy levels so I can recharge my batteries before I hit the point of exhaustion and burnout.
  7. I will remember that seeking advice from professionals, organizations and fellow caregivers is a sign of strength, not weakness.
  8. I will remember that my care receiver didn’t choose the illness or disability that he or she is living with.
  9. I will remember that I didn’t choose this life for my care receiver either, so I won’t be a martyr to their illness.
  10. I will remember that taking care of my own needs isn’t selfish. Taking care of myself benefits everyone I love.
  11. I will get appropriate help for myself if depression, anxiety or other mental health issues become apparent to me, my friends or my family.
  12. I will be open to alternative ways of caring for myself. This can include massage, aroma therapy, some form of meditation, exercise, attending a caregiver support group or webinar, seeking out respite care, or meeting with a therapist.

Remember, happiness isn’t about perfection—it’s about having realistic expectations. We all have room to adjust our expectations to more closely match reality, and that change alone can help us have a happier and more productive year.

Pam Leonard, LBSW, CDP, with CJFS Cares Program, offers insightful ideas to guide you on your journey toward hope and renewal for the New Year.  CLICK HERE

The federal government recently took two important actions to help individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease:

Congress included a historic $3.12 billion in federal funding for Alzheimer’s disease research as part of the recently passed Health and Human Services budget for fiscal year 2021, a $300 million increase over FY 2020.

The President signed the Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act, which passed Congress with unanimous bipartisan support, to protect seniors living with dementia-related illnesses from elder abuse. The new law will enhance training about Alzheimer’s and other dementias for law enforcement, health providers, and other frontline professionals who assess and respond to elder abuse.

Sleep is essential for brain health!  Learn more from UCI’s Dr. Sara Mednick. She shares all you need to know about why your brain needs to catch its zzz’s.  HERE  Then read more about conventional and nonconventional tips for getting a great night’s sleep.

The 14 Best Sleep Tips Of 2020, From Experts (mindbodygreen.com)

Learn more about how to keep your brain healthy at any age. Certain lifestyle habits can slow age-related cognitive decline and reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s. READ MORE

According to a new study published in JAMA Neurology, rates of dementia for the U.S. population have been relatively stable or in decline since 2000, whereas rates for African Americans remain disproportionately high. Scientists used data from an ongoing nationally representative study of adults aged 50 and older to study time trends in racial disparities in dementia.

AFA’s Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship Essay Contest is an annual competition for college-bound high school seniors.  Applicants are asked to write a 1,200 to 1,500-word essay that describes the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on themselves, their families or their communities, and what they have learned in light of coping with the brain disorder. The grand prize winner receives $5,000, with additional prizes awarded for runners up. 2021 Essay Submission Deadline: Monday, February 15, 2021. Alzheimer’s Foundation of America | <AFA’s Teen Scholarship Essay Contest> (alzfdn.org)