Free webinar: Learn how to communicate more effectively

Free webinar: Learn how to communicate more effectively

Join us on Tuesday, April 4, for “How You Say It – Making Matters Worse (or Better) by How We Communicate.” Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias cause changes in the person’s ability to communicate. Understanding these challenges and adjusting our communication patterns can make all the difference in the world. Learn some simple rules of thumb to communicate more effectively, both verbally and nonverbally.

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!
US/Canada Toll-Free Dial-in: 1.800.356.8278
Conference Code: 692442

Watch Past Webinars

? Upcoming Webinars (view description & register)

“How You Say It” – Making Matters Worse (or Better) by How We Communicate
Tuesday | April 4, 2017 | 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. or 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

What Everyone Needs to Know About Hospice Care
Wednesday | May 3, 2017 | 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. or 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Why Veterans Are at an Increased Risk for Alzheimer’s
Wednesday | May 17, 2017 | 2:00 – 2:30 p.m. or 8:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology to Make Dementia Care Safer and Easier
Thursday | June 15, 2017 | 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. or 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

? Watch Past Webinars

Managing Agitated Behavior

Forward Thinking About Memory Loss

Paying for Alzheimer’s Care: What Resources Are Available

Legal Planning for Alzheimer’s Disease

The Stressed Out Caregiver: How to Get Help Now

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

Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s: What’s the difference & why it matters

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

Hill Day is about action and honor for Alzheimer’s advocates

Hill Day is about action and honor for Alzheimer’s advocates

Thirteen hundred Alzheimer’s advocates washed Capitol Hill in purple on March 29, sharing their personal experiences with the disease and speaking up for increased research funding and improved access to care and support. During the Advocacy Forum’s Hill Day, advocates from all 50 states met with elected officials to urge them to make Alzheimer’s a national priority.\

Hill Day is about action and honor for Alzheimer’s advocates

Thirteen hundred Alzheimer’s advocates washed Capitol Hill in purple on March 29, sharing their personal experiences with the disease and speaking up for increased research funding and improved access to care and support. On Hill Day, part of the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum, advocates from all 50 states met with elected officials to urge them to make Alzheimer’s a national priority.

Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the country, costing the nation an estimated $259 billion in 2017. As the population ages, these costs will only increase — and a method of treatment must be uncovered in order to slow the financial and emotional toll the disease takes on people living with it and their families. Congress has recently provided additional funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), but the commitment continues to fall far short of the amount experts say is needed. The Alzheimer’s Association and its advocates are asking Congress to increase funding for Alzheimer’s research by at least an additional $414 million in fiscal year 2018.

With that goal in mind, Carol and Gary Hankins from Newberg, Oregon, awaited a meeting with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and his staff. Carol’s mom died of Alzheimer’s, and her father was recently diagnosed with dementia. Her work as a volunteer long-term care ombudsman, and Gary’s as a psychologist, has heightened their awareness of the myriad challenges surrounding the disease. “Just being here is so inspiring,” said Gary. “We can’t wait to get back home to continue these efforts.”

Sherry Schwarz from McKinney, Texas, has six relatives with Alzheimer’s, and her husband recently died from the disease. Clad in a purple cowboy hat, Schwarz emphasized the importance of participating in Hill Day.

“I do this to honor my husband,” she said. “We have to be a voice for those who longer have one. I can’t imagine not coming to Hill Day. It’s so important to share your story.”

Schwarz was joined by Charles Assiff, a caregiver who has attended the Advocacy Forum for 13 consecutive years. They spoke to staff in the office of Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) about their Alzheimer’s experiences and the compelling statistics behind their request for an increased federal commitment to research.

“It was a really positive meeting, and the staff member we met with was very knowledgeable,” said Assiff. “He not only listened to our stories, he listened to our asks.”

Cindy Harris from Soldotna, Alaska, met with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). The senator remembered Cindy’s personal story about losing her mother and aunts to the disease from Cindy’s visit during the Forum last year.

“I know it’s Alzheimer’s Day when I see purple in the hallways!” said Murkowski as she entered the room.

Harris, who shared caregiving responsibilities with her siblings until her mother living with Alzheimer’s entered a care facility, requested Murkowski’s support for the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA). Nearly half of all people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are in hospice care at the time of their death; however, less than half of surveyed nursing homes have a palliative care program. PCHETA would increase palliative care and hospice training for health care professionals, launch a national campaign to inform patients and families about the benefits of palliative care, and enhance research on improving palliative care delivery.

Murkowski shared her concerns about adequate caregiver support, especially in rural areas of her state. “Where’s the help with respite care?” she asked. “Where’s the help for those who have ended their careers to be caregivers? I want to push to look at that.”

First-time Forum attendee Edith Crawford of Des Moines, Iowa, was elated and inspired by her meeting with Rep. David Young (R-Iowa). Crawford cared for her mother for 20 years and is now a professional caregiver. She found Young to be compassionate and receptive, which only added to her Forum experience.

“For anyone who hasn’t attended the Forum before, I’d say, ‘Give it a try. You’ll be hooked,’” Crawford said. “It was so much more than I expected.”

Senate hearing examines the arc of Alzheimer’s

Many Association advocates concluded their day by attending a Senate Special Committee on Aging Hearing, “The Arc of Alzheimer’s: From Preventing Cognitive Decline in Americans to Assuring Quality Care for those Living with the Disease.”

Chairwoman Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) began the annual hearing by welcoming advocates and renewing her commitment to the cause. “It’s always so inspiring to sit here and look out at the sea of purple,” she said. “But it’s also a reminder that this terrible disease has affected each and every one of you in some way.”

Collins also spoke about advances made in the fight — and how far there still is to go, calling for bipartisan support of the issue.

“We have come a long way in advancing research through more robust funding, yet experts have calculated that we need $2 billion a year in research funding to achieve our goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer’s by 2025,” Collins said. “We certainly cannot afford to go backwards at a time of such great urgency and progress.”

Ranking Member Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) reinforced Collins’ thoughts. “Despite our progress, our work is far from over, and in some ways, it is just beginning,” he said. “Funding is critical. We can’t look at the faces in the audience who come here year after year and not insist that more has to be done.”

Collins and Casey were joined by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

The panel first heard testimony from journalist, activist and author Maria Shriver, whose father, Sargent Shriver, died of Alzheimer’s disease. She recalled testifying about Alzheimer’s in front of a senate panel eight years prior — and how she returned to address the devastating disease.

“Two years after I testified, my father died of Alzheimer’s disease,” Shriver said. “And now, I’m back. Back again to testify — and back again to focus your brains on this killer ravaging brains and families across this country.”

Shriver emphatically urged the senators to continue their commitment to the fight to end Alzheimer’s through increased research funding and the prioritization of care and support for all those affected.

“We must continue to prioritize investments in scientific research to find a disease modifying treatment and, one day, a cure,” Shriver said. “We must support caregivers of those living with Alzheimer’s and provide them with the resources they need to provide care for their loved ones. And we must ensure there is a well-trained workforce ready to provide quality care to the increasing number of people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias who will need these services.”

The hearing also included testimony from a number of experts on the disease both personally and professionally: Phyllis Gallagher, Alzheimer’s Association advocate and caregiver for her husband; Dr. Chris Callahan, director of the Indiana University Center for Aging Research; and Kristine Yaffe, M.D., professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Epidemiology and the Roy and Marie Scola Endowed Chair and Vice Chair of Research in Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco.

Explore how spouse’s roles change when living with dementia

Explore how spouse’s roles change when living with dementia

Join us on Tuesday, April 11, from 12 – 1 p.m. for an Educational Program by Phone on “Supporting Couples Living with Dementia: How Spouses’ Roles Change.” The spouse of a person with dementia must struggle with many changes, including taking on new responsibilities within the relationship and adjusting to the new role of caregiver. If we wish to assist couples on this journey, we need to better understand the impact of these shifting dynamics.

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)

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

Legal and Financial Considerations in Dementia: Three Things You Can Do Today

Non-Pharmacological Interventions for Anxiety Relief: Aromatherapy and Hand Massage

Veterans Program: Your Service, Your Health, Our Focus

Hiring In-Home Care: How to Choose Who to Bring into Your Home

Caregiver’s School of Hard Knocks: One Man’s Journey

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

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

MSNBC’s Lui finds the joy among the difficulties of Alzheimer’s caregiving

MSNBC’s Lui finds the joy among the difficulties of Alzheimer’s caregiving

In front of a record-breaking crowd of 1,300 at the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum keynote session, MSNBC anchor and Association Celebrity Champion Richard Lui shared his personal experience as an Alzheimer’s caregiver and interviewed two advocates impacted by the disease. Lui travels coast to coast weekly to assist his 83-year-old mother in caring for his father, also 83, who is living with Alzheimer’s.

MSNBC’s Lui finds the joy among the difficulties of Alzheimer’s caregiving

In front of a record-breaking crowd of 1,300 at the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum keynote session, MSNBC anchor and Association Celebrity Champion Richard Lui shared his personal experience as an Alzheimer’s caregiver and interviewed two advocates impacted by the disease.

Lui assists his 83-year-old mother in caring for his father, also 83, who is living with Alzheimer’s. After his father’s diagnosis, MSNBC agreed to let him alter his on-air schedule in order to travel from New York to San Francisco to help with caregiving duties during the week and return to his anchor job on weekends.

“Two years ago, I joined the ranks of the unpaid caregivers,” Lui said. “Reducing your time on TV is not a good thing if you want to be on TV, but that’s OK. Doing and earning less is actually doing more.”

Lui commended the caregivers in the audience, pointing out that caregiving is “a full-time job with 100 hours of overtime, zero fringe benefits and zero salary.” He said his family has “pulled out all the stops” in using technology to take care of his father, such as video chats, Google Docs to log experiences and coordinate tasks, and employing door sensors and locks in order to prevent his father from leaving the house unattended.

Evenings can be particularly challenging, he said. Lui’s father sleeps fitfully, getting up around 30 times every night. While many people, with or without Alzheimer’s, might become agitated by repeatedly waking up, Lui’s father has the opposite reaction.

“He squeals with joy when I put him back to bed,” Lui said, “He remembers what it was like as a child to be tucked in at night. And if he can smile, I can’t help but smile every time, too.”

Lui said that his father’s Alzheimer’s has brought them closer in some ways; his father hugs him and tells Lui he loves him “every 30 minutes,” enjoys everything he cooks and laughs at all of his jokes. But being closer also includes “the tough stuff.”

“I’m watching my father slowly die in front of me,” he said. “At times, I’m overwhelmed with a deep, deep sadness — that feeling of moist, cold air that gets in your bones.”

To cope, Lui said he recalls experiences such as when he was 9 years old and was being bullied at school. His father said Lui had two choices: continue to be harassed or defend himself. Lui chose the latter, and his father sent him to learn martial arts. After five years of training, his father said he would teach him how to fight.

“As my father struggles, I’m still that 9-year-old kid,” Lui said. “I’m ready to fight, but now it’s for him.”

Lui then spoke to Brittney Williams, caregiver for her mother, who died from younger-onset Alzheimer’s in 2013, and Mike Belleville, a member of the Alzheimer’s Association National Early-Stage Advisory Group, who was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s at age 52 the same year. (His diagnosis was changed to dementia with Lewy bodies in 2016.)

Acknowledging there can be a lighter side to the disease, Lui’s remarks featured humorous stories about his own Alzheimer’s experience, and he asked Williams if she had a favorite funny story to share.

“My mother was obsessed with the Beyoncé song ‘Love on Top,’” Williams said. “When she wanted to fight me or not take a shower, I would play the song and she would start dancing. One time we were at the grocery store and the song came on the PA and she did this whole choreographed routine … Laughter got us through, but I had to learn how to laugh and not be sad all the time.”

Belleville said he finds moment of levity in his situation, but it wasn’t always the case. Once an active member of his Bellingham, Massachusetts, community who dabbled in hobbies such as photography, he became depressed after learning he had dementia. He credits his wife of nearly 36 years, Cheryl, with changing his outlook.

“She said, ‘Enough is enough, we have to do something about this,’ and she called the Alzheimer’s Association,” he said. “They saved my life. They made me realize that I still have a voice and still have something to give. As long as I have my voice, I’m going to use it.”

Both Williams — a first-year master’s of social work student and geriatric scholar at the University of Michigan — and Belleville are committed to doing whatever they can to help put an end to Alzheimer’s. Williams hopes to conduct research on the effect the disease has on children and how it impacts their resilience.

“I was 20 when my mother was diagnosed,” Williams said. “My siblings were 17, 11, 10 and 9-year-old twins. You think about being that age. I was asking for allowance money; they had my mom’s treatment regimen down to a T. What they were doing was phenomenal to me.”

Belleville sees every interaction — even one as simple as someone asking, “How’re you doing?” — as an opportunity to educate people about dementia and help reduce stigma.

“People who have dementia, especially in early stages, can live a meaningful, purposeful, engaged life, and I’ve been given an opportunity to make a difference,” he said. “One of my favorite quotes is from the great Jackie Robinson: ‘A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.’ I try to follow that as much as I can.

“I love movies, and one of my favorites is ‘The Shawshank Redemption,’” he continued. “Morgan Freeman’s character says to Tim Robbins’ character, ‘Get busy living or get busy dying.’ I’ve chosen to get busy living.”

Washington insider McCurry discusses the political climate

Political consultant Mike McCurry, former press secretary for the Clinton White House, spoke during Tuesday’s lunch session on how advocates can help the cause in any environment.

The political climate in Washington doesn’t inspire much confidence, McCurry said, due to the bipartisan divide and that public trust of government is at an all-time low. Since 1995, polls show that the majority of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track, regardless of the party in power. In addition, approval ratings of institutions like Congress, the military, public schools, etc., sit at less than 50 percent.

“Most Americans don’t trust the government to get things right most of the time,” McCurry said. “People lack the fundamental confidence that our government will address the needs of the American people.”

Discussing how advocates can approach their Capitol Hill visits with elected officials who he said may be feeling the strain of political negativity; McCurry stressed the importance of civil and respectful dialogue.

“We have to find ways to talk about our future and listen to each other rather than shout each other down,” he said. “Don’t underestimate the value of using your voice in a very clear and kind way.”

McCurry further prepared advocates for their visits with legislators on Hill Day by offering his “five Cs of effective communication and advocacy”: credibility, candor, clarity, compassion and commitment. While all are vital, McCurry said Alzheimer’s advocates already exemplify the latter.

“The record attendance at this Advocacy Forum shows your commitment to the cause,” he said. “You’re making a huge difference in the fight against this disease. You’re showing everyone in Washington that you’re serious about ending Alzheimer’s once and for all.”

Advocacy Forum Spotlight: Ashley Bock

Advocacy Forum Spotlight: Ashley Bock

“I lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s disease several years ago. I was extremely close to him, he was pretty much my hero. He has helped mold me into the person I am today, so watching him battle this disease really made me want to take action. I wasn’t going to sit back and watch it happen to other people.”

Ashley Bock, 30, is from Antioch, Illinois and works in Sales Operations for CVS Health. This year will be her second year participating in the Advocacy Forum in Washington D.C. and her first time leading a Forum team!  Ashley also participates in several other Association volunteer opportunities, such as the Illinois Action Summit, the ACCR (Alzheimer’s Association Community Representative) program, and the Lake County Walk to End Alzheimer’s Committee where she served as Chair for five years. She also enjoys reading, ice fishing, boating and traveling with her husband, Matt.

“My husband and I are very social people who are always trying something new. We love to be busy- whether that’s having dinner with friends or traveling. We take several vacations – even if they are just long weekends. It’s very important to me take time and make memories with my friends and family.”

What is your personal experience with Alzheimer’s disease?
“I lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s disease several years ago. I was extremely close to him – he was pretty much my hero. He has helped mold me into the person I am today, so watching him battle this disease really made me want to take action. I wasn’t going to sit back and watch it happen to other people.”

What impact has Alzheimer’s had on your family?
“It definitely affected my mom and aunt who lost their father to this disease, along with my siblings and my cousins who lost their grandfather. This disease really shook our world because we had to step up and be caretakers for him and try and keep him out of a facility as long as possible. It was upsetting for me to watch this man who had a very proud work ethic be slowly taken away and stripped of everything by the disease. On a more positive note, we have all come together as a family since losing him. We all do different volunteer opportunities together and even have a Walk to End Alzheimer’s team together. So, as hard as it was when he was alive and had the disease, he was able to bring us together. “

What’s been the most positive aspect of it?
“Seeing us turn Capitol Hill purple is always very motivating for me. When I see everyone on Capitol Hill wearing the Alzheimer’s Association sash, it reminds me that I am not alone and that this disease did not just affect my family. Together, we are trying to make the future a better place by advocating for this disease. Also, getting the chance to have that face-to-face conversation with your legislator is so important, because you know they’ve taken time out of their day and they are invested in hearing what you have to say. It really feels like we are making a difference.”

What is like to be an Alzheimer’s Advocate?
“At times it can be challenging, but it is very meaningful work. Yes, we’re advocating for those currently living with the disease, but we are also advocating for the future. We are advocating for ourselves, our friends, our family… I advocate in memory of my grandfather, and even though my work now isn’t going to help him, I know that my work will make a difference for future generations. So for me, it’s very meaningful to know that we are advocating and making an impact on an issue that affects so many people.”

What is your favorite aspect of attending the Forum?
“Making connections with people from across the country! We all have at least one thing in common that bonds us together, and that bond is very strong. You might see someone from another state that you only see once a year, but you always have that common goal. We all want to end Alzheimer’s, and we are all there to support each other. The entire experience is a constant reminder that you are not alone in this fight, and that we can accomplish amazing things when we work together.”

What would you say to someone who was considering attending the Forum but maybe wasn’t sure?
“I would tell them that I was that person three years ago, and I didn’t attend. The following year I did attend, and I will never miss a year going forward. It is one of the best experiences you could have and one of the things I look forward to every year. Not only do you learn so much, but you make those close connections to people. It is just an amazing experience. I would tell that person that it is 100% worth it.”

Let’s work to make Illinois a dementia-capable state!
Sign up for the 2017 Illinois Action Summit, join a WALK, or learn more about becoming an AACR.