84th Academy Awards, Telecast Wide RemoteTonight’s the night. The 87th Oscars will air live in 225 countries and watched by over 43 million viewers worldwide tonight, Sunday 2/22/15. Right now the motion picture industry is rehearsing and primping, the world’s movie lovers are making their predictions and popping their popcorn ready to settle in for a cinematic celebration.

But due to the immense popularity of Julianne Moore’s performance in the film “Still Alice” based upon the best-selling book by Lisa Genova, persons impacted by Alzheimer’s are also doing something else in preparation for tonight. They are praying that the extra attention the film generates will add to the ranks of this of us already on the front lines fighting it.  We are woefully outnumbered and in great need of the cavalry. We’ve all heard the statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association’s latest 2014, Facts and Figures report and they are a sobering reminder of the growing avalanche of Alzheimer’s and dementia cases that the “Silver Tsunami” will bring.

  • Every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s.
  • 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
  • 5 million American’s are living with the disease RIGHT NOW.
  • 15 million unpaid caregivers are assisting them, RIGHT NOW.
  • 10,000 baby boomers in the US will be turning 65 EVERY DAY for the next 20 years.

The decision about how, when and where to join to fight against dementia including Alzheimer’s, is a very personal one based upon how you’d like to make an impact and which aspects of helping individuals and families impacted by dementia you’d like to support.  Not all support involves giving a great deal of time or money, sometimes it’s about adding your voice to the cause or your ideas to the effort. Whether you are in a position to give to an organization that would benefit from your help or whether you’d benefit from the programs that they provide to ease the path of your journey, there are some great people doing great things out there.

Do your own research and help fight the disease any way you can, wherever you can and whenever you’re ready.  Here, from their own websites,  is a quick look at a few National Non-Profits that’s I believe are doing great good, to both enhance the lives of persons coping with the disease currently as well as the work they are doing to eradicate it in the future.

Alzheimer’s Association. The Alzheimer’s Association works on a global, national and local level to enhance care and support for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. We are here to help. We enhance care and support. We have local chapters across the nation, providing services within each community. Find a chapter near you. Our professionally staffed 24/7 Helpline (1.800.272.3900) offers information and advice to more than 250,000 callers each year and provides translation services in more than 170 languages.   We run more than 4,500 support groups throughout the country and connect people across the globe through our online message boards.   We provide caregivers and families with comprehensive online resources and information through our Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center, which features sections on early-stage, middle-stage and late-stage caregiving. We advance research. As the largest non-profit funder of Alzheimer’s research, the Association is committed to accelerating progress of new treatments, preventions and ultimately, a cure. Through our partnerships and funded projects, we have been part of every major research advancement over the past 30 years. Visit our online Research Center. Our annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. We advocate. The Association is the leading voice for Alzheimer’s disease advocacy, fighting for critical Alzheimer’s research, prevention and care initiatives at the state and federal level. We diligently work to make Alzheimer’s a national priority. Join our effort. Learn more by visiting our website at www.alz.org.stillalice

USAgainstAlzheimer’s “USAgainstAlzheimer’s theory of change is rooted in the strong belief that we, the American people, can create the national will to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s by pressuring our political, business and civic leaders to devote the necessary resources to outcomes-oriented research and to reform the drug development systems that currently slow the development and availability of promising treatments. We call this “leadership for the cure.” And it works. To achieve our audacious but achievable goal we must:

  • Increase public and private-sector resources committed to stopping Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Accelerate the drug development process to deliver therapies to all those in need.
  • Bring dramatic improvements to the standards and systems of care for people living with Alzheimer’s and those who care for them.

New research says Alzheimer’s disease claimed 500,000 lives last year in America, with more than 5 million victims slowly dying of the disease and 44.4 million people world-wide battling some form of dementia. These victims are cared for by 15 million caregivers in the United States and 100 million world-wide. Additional research shows that the direct care costs of Alzheimer’s exceed those of cancer and heart disease. Despite these challenges, we believe what leading researchers tell us: that disease-modifying treatments and a cure are within reach if we commit the necessary level of funds to Alzheimer’s research. USAgainstAlzheimer’s is mobilizing the most deeply affected communities: Women, African Americans, Latinos, Clergy, Researchers and Caregivers. Each of these coalitions is united under the single relentless force of USAgainstAlzheimer’s, dedicated to stopping the disease and caring for those touched by it. Learn more by visiting our website at: http://www.usagainstalzheimers.org/

National Dementia Action Alliance. “There are currently 5.2 million Americans living with dementia, including Alzheimer’s in the United States; an amount equal to all the people combined who live in Oregon and Hawaii. Dementia impacts not only the person affected but also his/her family and friends adding another 15 million people impacted – an amount equal to all the people combined who live in Washington, Colorado, and Utah. Despite the huge numbers of people affected, dementia care, support, and services in the U.S. are fragmented, often hard to find, and care practices generally are not those recommended by the Institute on Medicine. As a result, people living with dementia and their care partners face enormous struggles including negative outcomes to their social, emotional, and physical well-being. It does not have to be this way. People can and do live fully with dementia with person-centered care practices and a network of good services and supports. The Dementia Action Alliance is a collective of individuals, organizations, and communities across the country partnering together to improve dementia care Learn more by visiting our website at: http://daanow.org/

Watching the Oscars tonight?  In addition to the popcorn, grab a pencil.
Watching the Oscars tonight? In addition to the popcorn, grab a pencil.

Project Lifesaver International. “The primary mission of Project Lifesaver is to provide timely response to save lives and reduce potential injury for adults and children who wander due to Alzheimer’s, autism, and other related conditions or disorders.   Project Lifesaver International (PLI) was founded by public safety officers themselves to bring about a solution that facilitates not just the speedy return of wanderers to their families upon being found but the actual rapid location of the wanderers themselves — a strategy that greatly increases the chance that the wanderer will be found alive. Currently, over 1,300 agencies in 47 states participate in the program—police, sheriff, fire, public safety departments and other emergency responders. The method relies on proven radio technology and specially trained search and rescue teams. Citizens enrolled in Project Lifesaver wear a small transmitter on the wrist or ankle that emits an individualized tracking signal. If an enrolled client goes missing, the caregiver notifies their local Project Lifesaver agency, and a trained emergency team responds to the wanderer’s area. Most who wander are found within a few miles from home, and search times have been reduced from hours and days to minutes. Recovery times for PLI clients average 30 minutes — 95% less time than standard operations. Working hand in hand with trained public safety agencies, Project Lifesaver International (PLI) will help you save time, money and most importantly, your loved ones. Learn more by calling us at: 772-446-1275 or visiting the Project Lifesaver International website at: http://www.projectlifesaver.org/

Memory People. “Memory People™ is a 10,000+ member online Alzheimer’s/dementia and memory impairment Support and Awareness group on Facebook. We are patients, caregivers, advocates, family members and professionals sharing our journeys with each other, seeking comfort and understanding, and receiving support and helpful information. We don’t talk about miracle cures or false hopes here. We share about the reality of dementia and memory impairment, and through support and education we find the ability to take another step each day in this journey. We welcome anyone, even if you’re not directly touched by dementia or a memory impairment. You will find knowledge and awareness here. Memory People was Founded by Rick Phelps who was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in June of 2010 at the age of 57. Rick created MP to be a safe, comfortable place to bring real-time support to those touched by these diseases and any memory impairment.”  Visit our Facebook page to learn more: https://www.facebook.com/groups/180666768616259/.

So tonight, when you settle in on the couch with your popcorn, please also grab a pencil and jot down the name of a person or organization impacted by Alzheimer’s that might need you. We are all around you. We are your friends, your neighbors, your family members and your co-workers. We might even be you.  You might even be fighting next to us already.  Thank you, Mara Botonis

One Comment

  1. Cherlyn

    Great article and thank you for educating seniors and senior caregivers about the disease. As my grandfather passed away from the disease, I continue to spread the word by keeping people informed and continuing to promote Alzheimer’s awareness. I’d encourage you and your readers to also check out: http://www.smallalfcoalition.com/memory-care/alzheimers-disease-memory-loss-and-early-warning-signs/ for other relevant information.

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