Memory Matters: Alzheimer's Association, Greater Maryland Chapter
Alzheimer's Association, Greater Maryland Chapter
Memory loss that disrupts everyday life is not part of the normal aging process. It is a symptom of dementia, a gradual and progressive decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. With Alzheimer's disease, early intervention is crucial. The sooner people receive a diagnosis and get help, the more control they and their families can have over their lives and planning for their future.
In a survey conducted by the Alzheimer's Association last year, people said that were just as afraid of becoming an Alzheimer's caregivers as they were of getting the disease themselves. Alzheimer's can be a very isolating experience for individuals and families. Feelings of stigma and embarrassment are not uncommon. Many people turn inwards and keep their feelings hidden behind closed doors instead of seeking help. Many people want help, but often do not know where to turn.
The Alzheimer's Association's "Make the First Call" campaign was developed to encourage people to immediately seek reliable information about Alzheimer's disease. With early diagnosis and future planning, the quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer's disease can be improved. The Alzheimer's Association's Nationwide Helpline offers support services for individuals affected by Alzheimer's and their caregivers. The number is 1-800-443-2273.
Making the first call is easy, especially since the Association Helpline is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, across the entire nation. Caregivers often come across times when they need someone to talk to due to the overwhelming feelings associated with caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's, or individuals notice symptoms of Alzheimer's in themselves. The Association Helpline can help. By taking a proactive measure such as calling the Association when symptoms first occur, people affected by Alzheimer's can adequately prepare for their future.
The Alzheimer's Association Nationwide Helpline is service that provides emotional support and practical information for people with Alzheimer's disease, their families and caregivers. In 2004, the national Association received more than 240,000 calls. The Association offers a confidential service, staffed by master's level clinicians who provide callers with information about understanding dementia, Alzheimer's diagnosis, treatment options, care giving information and crisis assistance. In addition, the highly trained and knowledgeable staff has the ability to assist individuals with medication and treatment options, legal and financial decisions, and strategies to reduce stress and manage lifestyle changes. Callers can access caregiver and support services and other assistance in more than 140 languages.
November is National Alzheimer's Disease Month first established by former President Ronald Reagan in 1983. Since then, the number of people with Alzheimer's disease has increased from 2 million to 4.5 million, and it is predicted that by 2050 Alzheimer's could affect nearly 11.3 million to 16 million people. This November, the Alzheimer's Association will launch its "Make the First Call" campaign to educate the public to reach out for information and assistance by calling the Alzheimer's Association Nationwide Helpline. The Association Helpline serves people with memory loss, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and the general public.
The Alzheimer's Association is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. The Association enhances care and support for people with Alzheimer's disease, their families, and caregivers and encourages support for research. Local office: 5 Public Square, Ste. 307, Hagerstown, MD, 301.797.4892; fax, 301.797.0150; email, Joyce.Heptner@alz.org, www.alzgmd.org.