In Georgia, there are approximately 200,000 people with Alzheimer’s and the population of caregivers more than doubles that number. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that gradually deteriorates the function of the brain. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are ongoing efforts to help people who have the disease and their loved ones to cope.
The Alzheimer’s Association - Georgia Chapter is one organization whose goal is to raise awareness of the disease. Since 1982, the Georgia Chapter has served thousands of people, and continues to provide a number of services designed to educate and uplift their community. From spearheading educational programs and research efforts, to providing phone support services and fundraisers, the organization has established itself as a valuable resource for many Georgia residents affected by Alzheimer’s.
Leslie H. Anderson, President and CEO of the Georgia Chapter, says that there are a variety of opportunities to get involved. The organization hosts events such as the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and golf tournaments. Each year, Alzheimer’s Awareness Day is hosted at the state capitol and there are many volunteer activities available.
In June, the organization will host the Dancing Stars of Atlanta fundraising competition, a spin-off of the “Dancing With the Stars” television show. The idea behind the fundraiser is for each dancer to reach a goal of $10,000. In 2010, event participants ranged from CEOs to professional athletes and politicians. “It’s a unique way for us to celebrate the people who support us and support those who need us,” Anderson says.
Today, the Alzheimer’s Association - Georgia Chapter is involved in research surrounding early detection of the disease. In January, the National Alzheimer’s Project Act was passed, which Anderson says is an historic legislative victory for the Alzheimer community.
The NAPA will allow supporters to help coordinate efforts to evaluate and overcome the effects of Alzheimer’s through community based programs and research. Alongside their ongoing support of Alzheimer’s advocacy on the national level, the Georgia Chapter plans to carry out a plan of its own. Through accelerated research, educational efforts and the growing revenue, the Georgia Chapter plans to continue their efforts to fight the disease. “The tsunami that is Alzheimer’s disease is here and we simply must be ready for it,” says Anderson.
Know the 10 Signs - Early Detection of Alzheimers’s
- Memory changes that disrupt daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
If you have questions about any of these warning signs, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends consulting a physician. Early diagnosis provides the best opportunities for treatment, support and future planning.
Courtesy of www.alz.org