The Alzheimer’s Association

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The Alzheimer’s Association, the first and largest Alzheimer’s voluntary health organization, is celebrating its 25th anniversary of incorporation by leading the fight against the disease and bringing hope to uncover its mysteries, prevent and treat its effects, and find better ways to support and care for those affected by it. The National Capital Area Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, serving the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and Southern and Suburban Maryland, offers a broad range of services to people with dementia, caregivers, and health care professionals.

The Association’s Contact Center delivers around-the-clock service nationwide. The unique partnership between the Association’s national office and the chapter network provides families, caregivers, health care professionals, and the public with the most up-to-date information on Alzheimer’s. The Contact Center network of 70 chapters handles more than 23,000 calls each month.

Support groups provide practical help in coping with the disease and can serve as an outlet for feelings and frustrations as well as an important source of information. The National Capital Area Chapter offers more than 70 support groups for families and caregivers, people with early-onset Alzheimer’s (under the age of 65), early-stage diagnosed individuals, and Spanish-speakers.

If you can’t find time to attend a support group, help is just a mouse click away at the Alzheimer’s Association’s message boards and chat room at www.alz.org. Among the forums are groups for caregivers, health professionals, and people with memory loss. Other categories include sections featuring success stories, questions for care consultants, and news on Alzheimer medications.

Education programs are an integral part of the Association’s mission. The National Capital Area Chapter offers a variety of education programs, with topics ranging from caregiver skill-building to legal and financial concerns. Annual caregiver conferences provide a more in-depth look at specific caregiving concerns. A new program, “Life After Diagnosis,” helps those faced with a recent diagnosis to prepare for the challenging journey ahead. Our “Partnering with Your Doctor” program assists people with memory loss and their loved ones in receiving the best possible health care through improved cooperation with their physicians and offers specific tools and strategies to improve communication and understanding. The Association’s Maintain Your BrainT public awareness campaign is educating people about a brain healthy lifestyle. We also provide dementia-specific training to professionals in the caregiving, health, safety, and law enforcement communities.

Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return is a nationwide identification, support and enrollment program that provides assistance when a person with dementia wanders and becomes lost locally or far from home. If an enrollee is missing, one call immediately activates a community support network – including law enforcement and local media – to help reunite the lost person with his or her caregiver. The nearest Association Chapter office provides information and support during the search and rescue efforts.

Advocacy is a major component of the Alzheimer’s Association mission. Alzheimer’s advocates are people with memory loss, caregivers, friends, and families whose voices together are a powerful tool for change and provide hope for a future without Alzheimer’s. Advocates are calling for advancements in research and enhanced care and support at the federal, state, and local levels. The payoff has been phenomenal to date: substantial increases in federal research funding, growth in state-supported services, and improvements in the quality of care for those in nursing homes.

Every year, National Capital Area Chapter volunteers, like thousands of others in 600 communities across the country, participate in a Memory WalkT to raise funds to support services and programs for those battling the disease. These events have raised more than $175 million nationwide since 1989. The Chapter holds other special events throughout the year to support programs and services, including the Tour de Canal Bike Challenge, the Washington Monuments Luncheon, the BB&T Alzheimer’s Golf Tour, and the America’s Great Generations Gala.

Funding for critical research and improved care and diagnosis will help ensure that the rapid pace of scientific breakthroughs continues. In just the past 15 years, we have learned 95 percent of all we know about the disease. Federal funding for Alzheimer’s research will increase to $700 million in 2005, and the Association continues to advocate for a yearly commitment of $1 billion. Private donations have enabled us to award $165 million to over 1,300 important research projects worldwide.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease and/or the Alzheimer’s Association, please visit www.alz.org or call toll-free 1-800-272-3900.

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