Weekly Dementia Community Calendar January 3, 2020

Make your New Year’s resolution to join a support group:

January 14 and 28, 11 – 12:30, 300 Office Park Drive, Suite 225

January 28, 6:30 – 8, Trussville First Baptist Church.

Super Bowl 2020 tickets will be raffled off to benefit Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama, January 9, Aloft Lobby in Homewood.  For more information see attached flyer or vholder@alzca.org.

Free confidential memory screenings Wednesday, January 22, 9 – noon, Cooper Green Mercy Health Services.  The memory screening takes about 15 minutes and while the result is not a diagnosis, it can suggest if someone should see a physician for a full evaluation.  Sponsored by the Jefferson County Community Services & Workforce Development Senior Services Division.  Call Dedra Lewis, 205-325-5567.

News to know:

New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers and Care Partners adapted from the West Alabama Area Agency on Aging  

  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 for myself, even though that seems impossible. That may mean asking for help from people and sources 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 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 health care 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 either, so I won’t be a martyr to their illness.
  10. I will get appropriate help for myself if depression, anxiety or other mental health issues become apparent to me, my friends or my family.
  11. I will be open to alternative ways of caring for myself. This might include massage, aroma therapy, some form of meditation, exercise, attending a support group, seeking out respite care, or meeting with a therapist.
  12. I will remember that taking care of my own needs isn’t selfish. Taking care of myself benefits everyone I love.

Remember, happiness isn’t about perfection—it’s about having realistic expectations.

Happy New Year from Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama!

The U.S. Congress has increased NIH funding for dementia research, including Alzheimer’s, by $350 million, bringing the total annual amount designated for dementia research to $2.8 billion. The budget is four times what it was six years ago.  Cancer research funding has surpassed $5 billion for years which has allowed researchers to develop new ways to address certain types.  A December 31, 2019 Washington Examiner article quoted NIH leader Dr. Francis Collins about his vision for future of Alzheimer’s disease research and development. “Will we have a way to figure out how to slow the disease in the next five years? I believe we will, but it is going to take every bit of energy, creativity, determination, and resources possible to get there. We will put every dime of that to good use. We have hedged our bets at the NIH over the course of the last five or six years to look in every nook and cranny.”

A December 22, 2019 New York Times (via Business Standard) article looked at the potential positives and negatives of taking an Alzheimer’s disease test. A diagnosis can help people to get their financial and legal affairs in order, make family plans and change their lifestyle. But it can also cause more questions than it answers, worries about the future and possible depression.

Longtime Philadelphia Inquirer sports columnist Bill Lyon died from Alzheimer’s after elegantly  chronicling his battle with Alzheimer’s, which he nicknamed “Al”.  The Inquirer editors thoughtfully gathered his writings into a full collection that you can find here.   He offers much insight, writing in part,  How come I can remember the lyrics from a long-forgotten ballad, but I, for the life of me, can’t remember what I had for lunch?

There’s long-term memory and medium-term memory and the ultimate indignity, the dreaded short-term memory, which involves the marching from room to room, fuming and venting, and where-oh-where are my &*#@ glasses, and the answer, of course, is on top of your head, you poor pathetic wretch.

There are 2 teen essay contests for teens:

Hilarity for Charity, a national Alzheimer’s non profit organization founded by Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller Rogen, is sponsoring Humans of Dementia: An Intergenerational Storytelling Contest with support from AARP, Generations United, Memory Well, and Associated Collegiate Press and National Scholastic Press Association. To be eligible, the writer must be currently enrolled in high school or college in the U.S. or Canada and the story must feature someone currently living with or who has passed away from Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. Learn more on theHumans of Dementia submission webpage. The deadline is March 13, 2020.

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is holding their annual Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship Essay Contest 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.  Submission deadline is Friday, January 17th, 2020.

https://alzfdn.org/young-leaders-of-afa/scholarship-contest/

Did you know? Planet Fundraiser is an app that lets you give back to non-profits, schools, and groups simply by taking a picture of receipts from merchants you already shop at.  You shop and participating merchants donate to the charity of your choice.  To date almost $1600 has been donated to ACA.