Gear up for World Alzheimer’s Month!

Make plans now to show your support for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Wear your purple during the Month of September and join in. 

Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disease that alters behavior, deteriorates memory, and erodes cognitive function.  This incurable form of dementia is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but the research is ongoing. Treatments are currently available that have shown to be effective in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s if administered in the early stages of the disease.

Initial signs of Alzheimer’s disease vary from person to person, but some common early indicators include: short-term memory loss, impaired reasoning, trouble finding the right words, difficulty following a recipe, struggling with simple calculations, and forgetting important dates.

Individuals with Alzheimer’s can get lost in familiar surroundings and not know how they got there. They may get off track in the middle of a conversation and not know how to continue or they repeat themselves. Those suffering with Alzheimer’s can also experience drastic mood changes like bouts of depression, fearfulness, anxiety, and suspicion of family and caregivers.

Participation ideas:

  • Get involved with local Alzheimer’s support groups.  Provide refreshments and information on your company’s respite services and in-home support for those caring for Alzheimer’s family members at home.
  • Contact local civic groups that regularly host community meetings and volunteer to speak about Alzheimer’s disease detection and prevention. Hand out information on how your company can help.
  • Spread the word through your social media posts about the latest Alzheimer’s research such as diagnostic studies, prevention trials, and quality of life studies.
  • Commit to sponsoring a team into the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s event in your community. The walks raise awareness and money for Alzheimer’s research.

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Dementia care matters. Show your commitment this February.

Americans are enjoying longer a life expectancy than ever before. One unfortunate fact that accompanies a longer lifespan is the increased likelihood that a person will develop Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s today. This could grow to as high as 16 million by 2050.

Home health care and hospice providers are in a unique position to strengthen their Alzheimer's and other dementia care services and become community leaders in education and awareness.

Feb. 14-Feb. 21 is Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Staff Education Week. Use this health observance as a springboard for a year of enhanced attention for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

  • Start with a visit to the official observance page of the National Council of Certified Dementia Providers. While you’re there, you can download a free Staff Training In-services and Tool Kit to help kick-start your efforts. The kit includes a Power Point presentation, interactive exercises, and more.
  • While it won’t be appropriate for all providers to develop a dementia care specialty, all providers can benefit from improving their knowledge of current best practices when it comes to dementia care. Make sure all of your in-home care providers receive a digital copy of the Alzheimer’s Association’s guide “Dementia Care Practice Recommendations for Professionals Working in a Home Setting.”
  • Contact your physician referral sources and underscore your commitment to treating patients with dementia. Take along a copy of the patient education guide you use with to help educate patients and their family members as you integrate them into their care.
  • Don’t limit your educational efforts to professionals this month. Provide additional support to those who are providing care for a loved one with dementia. Create a flyer about the care fundamentals for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias --  be sure to include the resources available within your organization.
  • Increase your visibility at community events this February and distribute brochures or flyers that highlight the services you provide for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Help Alzheimer's awareness take center stage this June

About 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, making it the most common form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

There is no cure for the progressive brain disease that causes problems with memory, behavior and thinking, but scientists are continually making advances in efforts to slow the disease, catch it early or prevent it altogether.

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. It’s a great time to position your agency to be an advocate for those with the disease and their caregivers.

  • Visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s website for this health observance to get started. You’ll find ways to Go Purple this June to show your support, and ways to take action, including participating in The Longest Day on June 21.
  • Stock up on personalized Alzheimer’s disease brochures versioned to home health, private duty or hospice and distribute them at events throughout the month to educate about the condition and how you can help. Consider enhancing the tools you currently use to educate patients and their families about this condition with a comprehensive patient education guide.
  • Donate board games or puzzle books to local assisted living facilities that contain your company’s logo and contact information. Sponsor a game night and spend time with the seniors in the facilities talking about the importance of enriching senior brain power.
  • Partner with non-competing providers and organize a Caregiver Appreciation Day for the family, friends and others who care for those with Alzheimer’s disease. Include discussions, activities, refreshments and even massages for this selfless group. Offer free or reduced cost respite care for attendees who need it.
  • Begin an effort to create a cookbook based on the recipes of your agency’s Alzheimer’s patients. Encourage the patients or their family members to write down the patient’s most loved recipes. When you have a few dozen, compile a recipe book to honor their legacies and their culinary contributions. Print out and distribute the books in your market or sell them and donate the money raised to the Alzheimer’s Association. Be sure to let the media know about your efforts during the collection process and when it is finished.
  • Sponsor a lunch at a local neurologist’s or gerontologist’s office to introduce your company’s services. Ask to place the physician on a local speaker’s event in order to begin networking his practice. Most specialists of this nature are stand-alone physicians or members of small medical groups and would love the community exposure a speaking engagement would bring.
  • Download and print out the Alzheimer’s Association’s list of the 10 Early Signs of Alzheimer’s. Distribute this at senior centers, places of worship, and ALFs. The agency also has a great online Alzheimer’s facts page.
  • Review the toolkits offered by Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles, the Alzheimer’s Association, ACT on Alzheimer’s and Delaware’s Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities. These provide a wealth of information on the condition, ways to educate your community, and more.