Weekly ACA’s Weekly Email January 29, 2021

CJFS is offering one-on-one caregiver support at no charge for family caregivers who are experiencing additional stress due to the pandemic.  Contact Pam Leonard at pam@cjfsbham.org or 205-879-3438

Caregiver Depression and Anxiety:  A Silent Crisis, Tuesday, February 2, 10 am CT.  Presented by Alabama Lifespan Respite,  https://alabamarespite.org/

Grief in a Pandemic: Practical Tips for Caring for the Bereaved webinar, Tuesday, February 9 at 11:30 am CT.  Grief and loss can be especially hard during times of uncertainty, anxiety, and isolation.  Registration (gotowebinar.com)

Zoom Support Groups available online:

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s (AFA) Medical, Scientific and Memory Screening Advisory Board is urging all individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and their family caregivers to get the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as they are able to do so.  Individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease are often older and at higher risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19, and family caregivers cannot provide proper care to their loved one if their own health is compromised.  Alzheimer’s Foundation of America | COVID-19 Vaccination Urged for Individuals Living with Alzheimer’s Disease and Family Caregivers (alzfdn.org)

Even before the pandemic, loneliness and social isolation have been considered health risks for older adults, especially those in rural areas and long-term care facilities.Isolation and loneliness are associated with a 50% increased risk of developing dementia, a 32% increased risk of stroke, and a nearly fourfold increased death among heart failure patients.  COVID-19 has exacerbated the risk to a public health crisis. Currently, 43% of Americans ages 60 and over report feeling lonely.  Alzheimer’s Foundation of America | Loneliness in Older Adults: A Public Health Crisis (alzfdn.org)

Anyone who has a family member with Alzheimer’s disease worries: Does Alzheimer’s run in my family? Will I also go on to develop the disease?  Genetic testing for Alzheimer’s is available through consumer testing companies like 23andMe. For  $100 -$200, you can send in a test swab of saliva or a cheek swab or blood specimen and find out if you carry a gene (specific coded information) that increases your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.  But just because you can get tested, doesn’t mean you should get tested. Because while a direct-to-consumer genetic test can inform you on a risk level, it cannot determine for certain whether you will develop Alzheimer’s disease. Should You Be Tested for the Alzheimer’s Gene? | Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (alzinfo.org)

The eighth Update of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease was recently published and includes a new section on COVID-19 efforts by federal agencies. The National Plan, first released in 2012, establishes five ambitious goals to both prevent future cases of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and to better meet the needs of the millions of American families currently facing this disease.

The Pickering Lab in the UAB School of Nursing is recruiting family caregivers for a National Institutes of Health Study.  The purpose of the study is to learn more about the day-to-day experiences of dementia caregivers, including how often certain behaviors may happen, situations which you may find stressful and how often good things happen.  It is non-invasive and participants simply document their experiences.  Responses are confidential.  Participants are paid.  https://t.co/Fmh3dz912l?amp=1

Check out AFA’s Teal Room (www.alzfdn.org/afatealroom) for free daily offerings of virtual therapeutic and activity programs, including music, art, dance/movement, chair yoga and virtual field trips.

The Dementia Action Alliance will be offering live engagement programs starting February 1st.  A full schedule of programs and simple sign-up process will be posted onDAA’s website starting Monday, January 25th.  Participants living with dementia really can enjoy offerings, such as Poetry Club, Guided Meditation, Whimsical Art, and Sports Club, as well as the opportunity to connect with others.

Placemats needed for “fidget blankets”.   Volunteers from Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church have made hundreds of fidget blankets out of discarded placemats.  All kinds of trinkets, fabric, zippers, etc. are sewn on the placemats giving them interesting textures.  The blankets are used by family caregivers to help with agitation and boredom and have been distributed to many on ACA’s service programs.  If you have any placemats that could be recycled for this purpose, please contact Miller Piggott, mpiggott@alzca.org.

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)