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Charity Spotlight: Alzheimer’s Association

By on November 1, 2014

14850256381_e66817442a_oNovember is known for many things; changing leaves, Thanksgiving, turkey, Black Friday, just to name a few. But it is also National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. The Alzheimer’s Association, formed in 1980 is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Their mission is “to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.” Named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer who discovered the disease in 1906 when he encountered damaged brain tissue from a woman who died of a mysterious mental illness, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, creating problems with memory, thinking and behavior. It is a progressive disease, getting worse over time, and is fatal as there is no cure. Two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause of death in California. Thankfully, the Alzheimer’s Association has a Northern California/Northern Nevada Chapter, offering support groups, learning classes and workshops, and fundraising events to raise money for research and create awareness.

15065251850_f123fbcfe7_oThere is an extensive list of classes to choose from, including classes on awareness where people learn about recognizing the first signs of the disease and early detection, understanding the disease and research updates. They also feature classes on reducing risk where people learn tips about keeping their body and mind healthy, as well as classes for caregivers and family members including legal planning and financial planning. In their last fiscal year, the association had 15,593 people attend their educational programs and 14,255 attend their support groups. The cause of the disease is unknown and there is no formal test to diagnose the disease, a comprehensive medical examination determines the diagnosis. But there are clues that establishes someone has the illness. The characteristics of the disease includes abnormal clumps (amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (neurofibrillary tangles) found in the brain.

“One of the most common myths about Alzheimer’s disease is that it is normal part of aging, but that is simply not true!” said Patty Guinto, Director of Communications for the Alzheimer’s Association. “It’s a disease that causes brain cells to malfunction and ultimately die. It’s the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the only cause of death in the top 10 causes of death that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed.”

14994852039_86f98c3984_oThe most popular event the association hosts is the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which has raised more than $225 million since 1989. The Northern California/Northern Nevada chapter has 17 walks which have raised over $3 million. This year, the chapter hopes to see close to 20,000 participate in the walks.

For more information, visit alz.org/norcal or call (800) 272-3900.

subscript to Lavish Living Magazine

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