February 3, Alzheimers Association

From the Alzheimer's Association Fredericka Waugh, Associate Director for Diversity and Inclusion, and Val Nunnenkamp Co-Chair of the Party in Purple, discussed Alzheimer's, the leading dementia diagnosed.   We discussed the unknown about the disease, how it caused and why, and what is known, that genetics plays a part in the likelihood of a diagnosis and that overall health can affect it.  Fredericka advises us to know 'our numbers' on blood pressure, glucose levels and more, and to engage intellectually and socially, other ways to decrease your chances of developing Alzheimer's or a vascular dementia.

We talked about the economic ramifications of the disease, in 2018 Alzheimer's cost the nation 277 billion, by 2015 that cost will exceed 1.1 trillion.  We touched on the personal costs on a family, for some early retirement, insurance coverage, homecare and long term care.  They discussed the services available to help families dealing with the condition, including caregiver respite and support groups.  Fredericka spoke on the the peer training they offer, including help for first responders, police and emergency room staff, teaching them when to suspect memory loss and confusion versus drug or alcohol problems.  Both praised the Silver Alert system, helping locate persona with Alzheimer's when they wander from their caregivers.

Fredericka also discussed her role, bringing awareness to populations affected by the disease, yet hesitant to discuss it, including the Hispanic, Asian and LBGTQ communities. She reminded us that it wasn't too long ago that we refused to discuss cancer fearing the stigma.

Val discussed the upcoming fundraiser, the Party in Purple Gala, March 9 at the Please Touch Museum.  He is looking for sponsors, volunteers and people who want to wear purple and party for a good cause. The event will include an open bar, auctions, dancing and casino games.

For information about the Association's programming, the Ten Warning Signs, volunteer opportunities, the Party in Purple or their annual Walk to End Alzheimer's, go to alz.org/delval