This time we are going to talk about an association that is helping Alzheimer patients live a better and more productive life. The Alzheimer´s Association operates all over United States and has many chapters, one for each state approximately. For this occasion we are also going to analyze the Greater Illinois chapter and their vision, mission and what they are all about and how are they working towards the Chicago community.
To better understand this association and its work, lets firs define Alzheimer as an important and common disease among human beings: Alzheimer is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. This disease is directly related with age as it is seen as a normal part of aging because the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. But don’t be fooled. Alzheimer can also have early symptoms and appear before the age of 60. Up to 5 percent of people with the disease have early onset Alzheimer’s (also known as younger-onset), which often appears when someone is in their 40s or 50s.
Their story started in 1979 when Jerome H. Stone and representatives from several family support groups met with the National Institute on Aging to explore the value of a national, independent, nonprofit organization to support and to complement federal efforts done to understand, improve and address Alzheimer’s disease. That meeting resulted in the April 10, 1980, formation of the Alzheimer’s Association. Since then, they have worked all across the globe to reach millions of people affected by Alzheimer’s using their chapters and agreements with different associations in the world. In the United States they use the national office and chapters in communities to spread the good energy of their charity work.
The Alzheimer’s Association works around 3 pillars for their patients:
1 . Enhance care and support:
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 by providing caregivers and families with comprehensive online resources and information through their Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center, helping people find clinical studies through their free, easy-to-use matching service: Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch® and by connecting people across the globe through their online message boards, ALZConnected®.
2. They focus on advance research:
As the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research, the Association is committed to accelerating the global progress of new treatments, preventions and ultimately, a cure. They use a program called “peer-reviewed research grant program” where they have invested more than $350 million in more than 2,300 scientific investigations since 1982. They also bring together many researchers to report on ground breaking studies on their annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC)®
3. They 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. They work towards making Alzheimer a national trend topic and to make the disease a national priority. They also do a great and important job by developing policy resources, including Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures and Changing the Trajectory of Alzheimer’s Disease, to educate decision makers on the economic and emotional toll that Alzheimer’s takes on families and the nation.
As it was said before, the Alzheimer´s Association is divided into chapters. The Greater Illinois Chapter serves 68 counties in Illinois with offices in Bloomington, Carbondale, Chicago, Joliet, Rockford and Springfield. Since 1980, the Chapter has provided reliable information and care consultation; created supportive services for families; increased funding for dementia research; and influenced public policy changes. Today, the Greater Illinois Chapter serves more than a half million Illinois residents affected by Alzheimer’s disease, including 210,000 people with the disease.
The Greater Illinois chapter launched in 2015 the Community Engagement program. This program allows the association to target specific communities with their locations and needs. With this, the association can design tailor made programs and identify, assess, and coordinate effective and holistic partnerships with targeted groups such as African Americans, Hispanics community and many more. In addition, the efforts in the Community Engagement program allow the Greater Illinois Chapter to identify diverse groups that are specific to the Chapter’s territory and that meet their established criteria.
They also have support Groups that are designed to provide emotional, educational and social support for caregivers through regularly scheduled meetings. They help participants develop coping methods and encourage caregivers to maintain their personal, physical and emotional health. They also have specialized groups for adult children or spouses, groups for people in the early stages, and groups for caregivers caring for someone in the late stages.
Do you want to know more about Chicago Charities? Take a look at this article