Take a look at 9 learning opportunities this December

Take a look at 9 learning opportunities this December

If you are curious about memory loss, look at “Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters” or “The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.” If you need specific knowledge or just something to make life easier, try “Learning To Connect: Relating to the Person with Alzheimer’s.” No matter where you are in the journey, we have a program that will help.

Education Programs Calendar

There are currently 38 education program events listed in our database. To view and register for our events, use the search tool below.

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Educational Programs by Phone

Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters

The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Legal and Financial Planning

Learning to Connect: Relating to the Person with Alzheimer’s

Living with Alzheimer’s: For Middle-Stage Caregivers

Caregiver Stress: Relief, Acceptance and Empowerment

Understanding Early Memory Loss

Dementia Conversations

Living with Alzheimer’s: For Late Stage Caregivers

Healthy Habits for a Healthier You

Alzheimer’s Research: Get Informed, Get Involved

Effective Communication Strategies

Understanding and Responding to Dementia Related Behavior

Your Service, Your Health, Our Focus

Live Webinars

Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body: Tips from the Latest Research

Fighting Dementia Through Joyful Living

Professional Education

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We may be able to influence some Alzheimer’s risk factors

We may be able to influence some Alzheimer’s risk factors

Scientists have identified factors that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. The most important risk factors — age, family history and heredity — can’t be changed, but evidence suggests there may be other factors we can influence.

Scientists have identified factors that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. The most important risk factors—age, family history and heredity—can’t be changed, but emerging evidence suggests there may be other factors we can influence.



Family history
What you can do now

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The greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is advancing age. For example, while one of nine people age 65 or older has Alzheimer’s, nearly one of three people age 85 or older has the disease. One of the greatest mysteries of Alzheimer’s disease is why risk rises so dramatically as we grow older.

Learn more: 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s, Steps to Diagnosis and Visiting Your Doctor.

Family history

Another strong risk factor is family history. Those who have a parent, brother, sister or child with Alzheimer’s are more likely to develop the disease. The risk increases if more than one family member has the illness. When diseases tend to run in families, either heredity (genetics) or environmental factors, or both, may play a role.

Aluminum not a cause

During the 1960s and 1970s, aluminum emerged as a possible suspect in causing Alzheimer’s disease. This suspicion led to concerns about everyday exposure to aluminum through sources such as cooking pots, foil, beverage cans, antacids and antiperspirants. Since then, studies have failed to confirm any role for aluminum in causing Alzheimer’s. Almost all scientists today focus on other areas of research, and few experts believe that everyday sources of aluminum pose any threat.

Learn more: Myths About Alzheimer’s

Genetics (heredity)

Scientists know genes are involved in Alzheimer’s. There are two types of genes that can play a role in affecting whether a person develops a disease—risk genes and deterministic genes. Alzheimer’s genes have been found in both categories.

Genetic testing

Genetic tests are available for both APOE-e4 and the rare genes that directly cause Alzheimer’s. However, health professionals do not currently recommend routine genetic testing for Alzheimer’s disease. Testing for APOE-e4 is sometimes included as a part of research studies.
Learn more: Genetic Testing Topic Sheet

  1. Risk genes increase the likelihood of developing a disease, but do not guarantee it will happen. Scientists have so far identified several risk genes implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. The risk gene with the strongest influence is called apolipoprotein E-e4 (APOE-e4). Scientists estimate that APOE-e4 may be a factor in 20 to 25 percent of Alzheimer’s cases.
    APOE-e4 is one of three common forms of the APOE gene; the others are APOE-e2 and APOE-e3. Everyone inherits a copy of some form of APOE from each parent. Those who inherit APOE-e4 from one parent have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Those who inherit APOE-e4 from both parents have an even higher risk, but not a certainty. Scientists are not yet certain how APOE-e4 increases risk. In addition to raising risk, APOE-e4 may tend to make Alzheimer’s symptoms appear at a younger age than usual.
  2. Deterministic genes directly cause a disease, guaranteeing that anyone who inherits them will develop the disorder. Scientists have discovered variations that directly cause Alzheimer’s disease in the genes coding three proteins: amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin-1 (PS-1) and presenilin-2 (PS-2).
    When Alzheimer’s disease is caused by these deterministic variations, it is called “autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease (ADAD)” or “familial Alzheimer’s disease,” and many family members in multiple generations are affected. Symptoms nearly always develop before age 60, and may appear as early as a person’s 30s or 40s. Deterministic Alzheimer’s variations have been found in only a few hundred extended families worldwide. True familial Alzheimer’s accounts for less than 5 percent of cases.

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A closer look: Genes linked to Alzheimer’s

The 23 human chromosome pairs contain all of the 30,000 genes that code the biological blueprint for a human being. This interactive illustration highlights the chromosomes containing each of the three genes that cause familial Alzheimer’s and the gene with the greatest impact on Alzheimer’s risk.



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What you can do now: Factors you may be able to influence

Most experts believe that the majority of Alzheimer’s disease occurs as a result of complex interactions among genes and other risk factors. Age, family history and heredity are all risk factors we can’t change. Now, research is beginning to reveal clues about other risk factors we may be able to influence through general lifestyle and wellness choices and effective management of other health conditions.

Head trauma: There may be a strong link between serious head injury and future risk of Alzheimer’s, especially when trauma occurs repeatedly or involves loss of consciousness. Protect your brain by buckling your seat belt, wearing your helmet when participating in sports, and “fall-proofing” your home. Learn more about traumatic brain injury.

Heart-head connection: Growing evidence links brain health to heart health. Your brain is nourished by one of your body’s richest networks of blood vessels. Every heartbeat pumps about 20 to 25 percent of your blood to your head, where brain cells use at least 20 percent of the food and oxygen your blood carries.

The risk of developing Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia appears to be increased by many conditions that damage the heart or blood vessels. These include high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high cholesterol. Work with your doctor to monitor your heart health and treat any problems that arise.

Studies of donated brain tissue provide additional evidence for the heart-head connection. These studies suggest that plaques and tangles are more likely to cause Alzheimer’s symptoms if strokes or damage to the brain’s blood vessels are also present.

Latinos and African-Americans at risk

Because Latinos and African-Americans in the United States have higher rates of vascular disease, they also may be at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s. According to a growing body of evidence, risk factors for vascular disease — including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol — may also be risk factors for Alzheimer’s and stroke-related dementia.

Learn more: Be Heart Smart and Adopt a Brain Healthy Diet.

General healthy aging: Other lines of evidence suggest that strategies for overall healthy aging may help keep your brain as well as your body fit. These strategies may even offer some protection against developing Alzheimer’s or related disorders. Try to keep your weight within recommended guidelines, avoid tobacco and excess alcohol, stay socially connected, and exercise both your body and mind. Sign up for Alzheimer’s enews and stay informed on research investigating lifestyle factors and the risk of cognitive impairment.

Follow a caregiver’s journey in our education program by phone

Follow a caregiver’s journey in our education program by phone

Join us on December 13, from 12 – 1 p.m. for an Educational Program by Phone on “Caregiver’s School of Hard Knocks: One Man’s Journey.” Caring for someone with dementia can take everything you have, and then some. Author Brent Worthington recalls the lessons learned while caring for his grandmother as she lived with dementia for 6½ years. Brent’s stories are poignant, sad, humorous, instructional, and sure to provide lessons for fellow caregivers.

Are you too busy to attend an in-person education program? Our free Educational Programs by Phone are designed for busy people who aren’t able to attend a program outside of their home or office.

Register online below or by phone at 309.662.8392.
It’s easy! After registering, you will receive a toll free number to call plus materials to follow along with during the program. Call from your home, office, or car. You can listen in and even ask questions of our expert speakers.

Listen to Past Programs

Programs by Phone PDF



? Upcoming Programs (view description & register)

Caregiver’s School of Hard Knocks: One Man’s Journey
Tuesday | December 13, 2016 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Hiring In-Home Care: How to Choose Who to Bring into Your Home
Tuesday | January 10, 2017 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.


Veterans Program: Your Service, Your Health, Our Focus
Tuesday | January 31, 2017 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. & 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.


Non-Pharmacological Interventions for Anxiety Relief: Aromatherapy and Hand Massage
Tuesday | February 14, 2017 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.


Legal and Financial Considerations in Dementia: Three Things You Can Do Today
Tuesday | March 14, 2017 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.


Supporting Couples Living with Dementia: How Spouses’ Roles Change
Tuesday | April 11, 2017 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.


The Mediterranean Diet – Can Changes in Diet Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s disease?
Tuesday | May 9, 2017 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.


How to Choose the Best Residential Care Option for Your Situation
Tuesday | June 13, 2017 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.


Listen to Past Programs

Learn the Amazing Ways That Music Can Help People With Memory Loss

Coping with Alzheimer’s Behaviors: Skills that Can Help You Today

Medications for Alzheimer’s and other Dementias: Benefits and Side Effects

Reducing the Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease

How Families Cope with Alzheimer’s disease

Successful Daily Plans for a Person With Alzheimer’s disease

Making the Move: Choosing a Nursing Home. Alzheimer’s Unit or Assisted Living Facility

Actress remembers her grandmother and best friend lost to Alzheimer’s

Actress remembers her grandmother and best friend lost to Alzheimer’s

Katie Stevens was 15 years old when her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and she lost her to the disease in 2015. The actress and Alzheimer’s Association Celebrity Champion writes, “Alzheimer’s may have taken her mind and her strength, but it could never take away her love, her kindness and her beautiful heart.”

I was 15 years old when I found out my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I had heard of it. I knew about it from friends who had grandparents who suffered through it (and I’d seen The Notebook a million times), but nothing can ever prepare you for what comes after the diagnosis.

I tried to convince myself over and over that she would suffer less because there would come a point that she would no longer know that she was sick. But I didn’t realize that she would always suffer. She would suffer in the confusion of not knowing who she was around. She would suffer in the times where she would no longer know how to feed herself, bathe herself, or even walk by herself.  And as her family, we would suffer watching the matriarch of our family, someone who was always so strong and who took care of everyone, fade before our eyes.

My grandmother gave Alzheimer’s quite the fight. She never let it dim her light. No matter how bad the day was, she always found a way to smile, and made the rest of us smile around her. However it was always difficult. I moved away to California to pursue my dreams at 17, which is what she wanted for me, but I couldn’t get over the fact that I wouldn’t be there for her as she progressed in the disease. I called her every day, FaceTimed with her and came home as often as I could. The heartbreak set in every time I left home, because I never knew if that was the last time I would see her again. And every time I said “I love you” to her in the last few years, my mom would have to tell her to, “Say I love you, too.”

The last time I saw my grandmother was during Christmas break of 2014. I don’t know why, but I had an overwhelming feeling that that would be the last time. I went up to her room where she sat in her chair most of the time, and I knelt beside her and held onto her hands. I knew at this point the disease had taken hold of her so much that I could literally say anything to her and it wouldn’t confuse her or necessarily register. So I sat there and said my final goodbye.

I thanked her for shaping me into the woman I am today, for her never-ending love, for her support, and I told her she would always be my angel. I looked at her and said, “I love you Vovo.”  She smiled at me, and without anyone telling her to, and without hesitation she said, “I love you, too.” In that moment I knew I had to let her go, and I promised her that I would do all that I could to find a cure.

I lost my grandmother, my best friend, on April 2, 2015. Alzheimer’s may have taken her mind and her strength, but it could never take away her love, her kindness and her beautiful heart. Life is about creating ever-lasting memories, and my wish for the world is that we all are able to remember those memories when it’s our time to leave this earth. I will spend the rest of my life trying to help find a cure.

About the Author: Katie Stevens is an actress and singer best known for starring in MTV’s scripted series “Faking It.” She is an Alzheimer’s Association celebrity champion, working to raise awareness for the cause in honor of her grandmother who she lost to the disease. Katie also serves on the Hilarity for Charity committee.

Coming Soon: Read Katie’s mom’s piece, Remembering Mom: A Daughter’s Story.

Learn More:

Don’t miss the last free webinar of the year!

Don’t miss the last free webinar of the year!

Join us for “Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s: What’s the difference & why it matters.” All people with memory loss do not have dementia, and all people with dementia do not have Alzheimer’s disease. Understanding the difference between memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is important in getting the right treatment and follow-up care. Learn what to do when your doctor suspects Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

Free Live Webinars

The Alzheimer’s Association is pleased to announce its schedule of free live webinars. Offered at various times throughout the day, the topics range from general awareness to specific caregiving strategies. Webinars are recorded and available to those who are unable to attend. Join us for one, or all!

Watch Past Webinars

? Upcoming Webinars (view description & register)

Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s: What’s the difference & why it matters
Thursday | December 15, 2016 | 10:00 – 11:00 a.m or 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

? Watch Past Webinars

Red wine, vitamins and Alzheimer’s: Do they work?

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s: How To Prepare For The Appointment

Why are evenings so difficult? Sundowning & Alzheimer’s disease

Conozca Las 10 Senales De Advertencia

Improving cognition: How to use the senses for people with dementia

How to use simple physical activities to benefit people with dementia

Caregivers speak: I wish I knew then what I know now

How you can use music to help a person with Alzheimer’s

Learning to connect: Relating to the person with Alzheimer’s

Gadgets, gizmos and technology to make Alzheimer’s care safer and less stressful

Alzheimer’s medications: What they are and what they do