Published September 15, 2015
Volume 23, Number 9

Alzheimer’s Association Offers Information, Support to

Hacienda Businesses

Alzheimers Association

By Jay Hipps

The Alzheimer’s Association, a national organization that provides care and support for Alzheimer’s patients and their families and is also the largest private funder of research on the disease globally, is offering Hacienda businesses and their employees the opportunity to learn more about the effects of aging on mental health and cognition.  
Specifically, in addition to the group’s ongoing efforts such as their 24/7 Helpline at (800) 272-3900, staff from the organization will come to Hacienda businesses for group presentations or question-and-answer sessions on topics including, “What’s Happening with Alzheimer’s,” “Maximize Your Memory,” “Healthy Habits for a Healthy Brain,” “Knowing the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters,” “Understanding and Responding to Dementia,” and, for caregivers, “Effective Communication Strategies.”
“One of the things that we’re learning is that Alzheimer’s disease has for many years not been recognized as a disease,” says Ruth Gay, director, Public Policy & Advocacy of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California. “But we know that when people’s cognition changes, there is something going on, and it’s not a normal part of aging to lose your cognitive abilities. When we start talking about the impact of Alzheimer’s disease, for a very long time it’s been an invisible epidemic.”
Over 5 million people in the U.S. currently live with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to grow as the population ages. The number of people effected by the disease is much higher, however, as caregiving responsibilities often fall on family members, Gay explains.
“What we find in the workplace is that many people are worried about somebody or caring for somebody, and it’s often very much under the radar, and they don’t know that they can ask for help,” she says. “Their employer may not know that they’re struggling with that but I can tell you that the impact on business is huge with Alzheimer’s disease, where people end up missing work, cutting back on their hours, and with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, people are more likely to have to quit their jobs. It’s a huge impact on the workplace, but it’s sort of an unseen, invisible, costly impact.”
Fortunately, those costs can be mitigated. “Sometimes there are ways that businesses can provide support to those folks, whether it is allowing them to have a support group or allowing a brown bag educational forum on different topics —things that can connect them with services that might help them stay in the workplace,” says Gay.
For those looking to help support the Alzheimer’s Association, there are several noteworthy events coming up. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease will take place on September 19 in San Francisco, on October 10 in San Jose, and on October 17 in Walnut Creek. All told, well over 10,000 people are expected to participate in the events, and corporate sponsorships are available. See alz.org for more information.
For Hacienda companies or community organizations interested in hosting a presentation or discussion with Alzheimer’s Association staff, contact Pauline Martinez at pmartinez@alz.org.


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