Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Lorain County Needs Assessment Answered Important Questions

In 2013, the Alzheimer’s Association Cleveland Area Chapter was the recipient of a very generous bequest restricted to “programs and services for the residents of Lorain County”. The bequest was made by Angelo LoPresti in honor of his wife, Frances, who had Alzheimer’s disease. In order to ensure that this gift made the greatest impact on the community, the chapter commissioned an outside consulting firm to conduct a needs assessment of Lorain County. The work began in November of 2014 and concluded in July of this year. The community assessment included interviews with five focus groups​ of key stakeholders​, ​an ​analysis of ​demographic data,​​ a survey of participants of Alzheimer’s Association services, and a community survey ​sent ​to​ 5,000​  randomly selected ​residents of​ Lorain County, age 50 older. 

The assessment set out to answer some very important questions.
  • What are the needs of the residents of Lorain County related to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia support services?
  • How well are our services currently meeting that need?
  • What additional support services are needed in Lorain County to support residents living with or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia?
  • How should we structure our presence in Lorain County to meet key challenges and opportunities?
  • How do we ensure that our programs and services align with and directly advance the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association and our strategic initiatives in Lorain County?

A summary of the assessment’s key findings can be found by clicking hereThis work helped to identify our priorities for Lorain County.

As a result, our new three-year plan for serving the estimated 5,500 Lorain County residents with dementia and the estimated 11,000 caregivers will be fulfilled by providing more knowledge and information about the disease so families are able to plan, make decisions, and feel more supported by life’s transitions. Those impacted by the disease will also have access to a supportive network of others affected by the disease. Ultimately, the goal is for Lorain County to become a more dementia friendly community through outreach and education with health care providers, faith-based organizations and the community at large.

As the population of Lorain County ages, more people will be impacted by this disease (estimated 6,500 by 2030). The population of each city, village and township will be impacted proportionally. Our findings suggest that preparing for the future will require a community, not just an organizational response. The end of Alzheimer’s starts with you. Our Helpline(800.272.3900) is always open. You can help by referring someone to us who needs our help. We welcome your calls and look forward to expanding our reach in our communities. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Join our fight for the more than 5 million individuals living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Free social programs for individuals with mild to moderate memory problems

Minds in Motion program is now up and running!

The Cleveland Area Chapter is proud to announce a new social engagement program designed specifically to serve those with mild to moderate memory and thinking disorders and their loved ones. The goal of the program is to provide participants with social engagement opportunities that enrich the mind, body, and soul in a comfortable social setting. 

The free programs will be held the first Thursday afternoon of each month from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. in the Beachwood office.  Planned activities include painting, yoga, simple recipes, mini gardening and brain fitness programs. 

The program will be led by Early-Stage Specialist, Taylor Young, LSW, MSSA, who coordinates the engagement programming and leads the Early-Stage Education and Support Groups in Northeast Ohio. Volunteer guest facilitators who are trained professionals will run the activities.

Individuals living with a memory and thinking disorder must be accompanied by an adult family member or friend and be willing to participate in the group program. Although the program is offered free of charge, participants are asked to consider a donation of $10 per session in support of the chapter’s engagement services. Space is limited and registration is required. 

For more information, call the Cleveland Area Chapter at 800-272-3900.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


The Alzheimer’s Association’s new report, The Impact of Alzheimer’s Disease on Medicaid Costs: A Growing Burden for States, released today, found that between 2015 and 2025, Medicaid costs for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will increase in every state in the U.S. and the District of Columbia. In fact, by 2025, 35 states will see increases in Alzheimer’s Medicaid costs of at least 40 percent from 2015, including 22 states that will see increases of at least 50 percent.

In Ohio, Medicaid spending on people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will increase thirty-four percent by 2025. This year, spending will total $2.2 billion, increasing to $2.9 billion in 2025. Approximately eleven percent of the 2015 Medicaid budget in Ohio is spent on people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

In 2015, Medicaid costs for seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will exceed $1 billion in 11 states including Ohio. By 2025, 20 states will have over $1 billion in Medicaid spending for this population.

Seniors with Alzheimer’s and other dementias rely on Medicaid, which is funded by state and federal governments, at a rate nearly three times greater than other seniors due to the long duration of the disease, the intense personal care needs and the high cost of long-term care services. According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, by the age of 80, 75 percent of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will be admitted to a nursing home, compared with just four percent of the general population.

With the quickly rising Medicaid costs for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, Ohio needs a comprehensive review of state preparedness to meet the immediate and future care needs of people affected by this devastating disease.

Alzheimer’s is a triple threat, with soaring prevalence, lack of treatment and enormous costs that no one can afford. Barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent, stop or slow Alzheimer’s disease, state governments must anticipate the demands of long-term care on their Medicaid budgets.

“As these data clearly point out, action must be taken now to rein in – and eventually end - the Alzheimer’s epidemic. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on Congress to continue its commitment to the fight against Alzheimer’s by increasing federal funding for Alzheimer’s research by $300 million in fiscal year 2016,” said Nancy Udelson, President and CEO, Cleveland Area Chapter.
To read the full report findings, visit alz.org/trajectory.

Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our 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. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit alz.org or call 800.272.3900.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


The Alzheimer's Association has awarded Gary Landreth, Ph.D., Professor of Neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University a 2015 Research Grant Award.

Dr. Landreth has been awarded the $240,000 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant to fund his research in Roles of TREM2 in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis. The funds will be distributed over the next three years. Cleveland area researchers have received more than $11.4 million dollars since the inception of the grants program. Cleveland ranks fifth in funding behind New York, Boston, Chicago and St. Louis.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research, having awarded more than $350 million to over 2,300 projects since 1982. Alzheimer's Association research grants are intended to advance the understanding of Alzheimer's disease, help identify new treatment strategies, provide information to improve care for people with dementia and further knowledge of brain health and disease prevention.

“The Alzheimer’s Association is pleased to make these research funds available to Dr. Landreth so that he can conduct innovative research in the Cleveland area. This work has the potential to uncover critical clues toward developing more effective treatment strategies for Alzheimer’s that could impact all who are affected by the disease, including individuals living with Alzheimer’s and those who care for them. We look forward to learning the results of this important research,” said Nancy Udelson, President and CEO, Cleveland Area Chapter.

The Landreth laboratory on the CWRU campus is focused on, investigating the actions of genes linked to Alzheimer’s disease and devising new therapeutic strategies for its prevention and treatment. 

“I’m honored to be awarded this important research grant from the Alzheimer's Association,” said Dr. Landreth. “Our work in the roles of TREM2 in pathogenesis will lead us to a better understanding of this complicated and devastating disease and eventually to better diagnosis and treatment.”

The Alzheimer's Association International Research Grants Program seeks to improve quality of life for everyone affected by Alzheimer's disease. This includes generating new insights about the basic biology of Alzheimer's and other dementias and using these findings to create innovative approaches to risk assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention, plus enhancements to care and support for those now living with the disease. 

  • Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. It kills more Americans than diabetes and more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report. There are 591,000 Alzheimer’s caregivers in Ohio providing 674 million hours of unpaid care valued at $369 million.

For more information, visit the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Alzheimer’s Association® Cleveland Area Chapter Invites Everyone to Go Purple on June 21st to Raise Awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease and Brain Risk

Terminal Tower to glow purple June 21st for The Longest Day

There are at least 44 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, including 210,000 here in Ohio. Despite its soaring prevalence, Alzheimer’s disease is still largely misunderstood. The inaugural Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month is an opportunity to raise awareness of the Alzheimer’s crisis and educate people on the realities of the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association is asking everyone to join the purple movement this June and help protect our greatest asset: the human brain.
Often thought of as minor memory loss, Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease that kills nerve cells and tissue in the brain, affecting an individual’s ability to remember, think and plan. As the disease advances, the brain shrinks dramatically due to cell death. Individuals lose their ability to communicate, recognize family and friends and care for themselves.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, nearly a quarter (24%) of people agree with the mistaken belief that Alzheimer’s must run in their family for them to be at risk. When looking at certain ethnic groups, these numbers were even higher. A third of Latinos (33%) and almost half of Asians (45%) agreed with that incorrect statement. In actuality, everyone with a brain is at risk for Alzheimer’s, a disease that currently has no way to prevent, stop or even slow its progression.

“Working closely with families in the area, we see the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease on a daily basis,” said Nancy Udelson, President and CEO, Alzheimer’s Association Cleveland Area Chapter. “As baby boomers age and the numbers of those affected rises, we encourage everyone to join the fight and help to reclaim the future for millions.”

On June 21, the summer solstice, people around the world will honor the strength, passion and endurance of those facing Alzheimer's with a day of activity. Participants in The Longest Day® will complete approximately 16 hours of activity ranging from running, cooking and knitting to playing cards. To join or start a team, visit alz.org/thelongestday.

Additionally, the iconic Terminal Tower in downtown Cleveland will be illuminated in purple light to honor this day.

Other ways to join the fight against Alzheimer’s during June include:
·         Share the facts – Post and tweet about Alzheimer’s and brain risk throughout the month. If you have a brain, you are at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
·         Be social – Turn Facebook purple using an END ALZ graphic as your profile picture.
·         Go purple – Wear purple on Saturday, June 21, the longest day of the year, to support those facing the devastation of Alzheimer’s day in and day out.
·         Use your brain to fight Alzheimer’s disease – Become an Alzheimer’s advocate and write your members of Congress to ask for more federal funding for Alzheimer’s research.
For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, how to get involved and purple gear, visit alz.org/abam.

The Alzheimer’s Association Cleveland Area Chapter serves Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Lorain counties with offices in Avon, Beachwood and Mentor.  The Association’s 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. The disease currently affects more than five million American adults and is the 6th leading cause of death in the country. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit www.alz.org, follow us on Facebook, or Twitter.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Home for the holidays...and noticing changes in older relatives


Early Detection Empowers Families to Plan for the Future

The holiday season is a time families gather and spend quality time with loved ones. It is also a time that can raise questions about the cognitive health of aging family members. With Alzheimer’s disease in particular, it is important to know what it is and what it is not normal aging.  Below is a list of warning signs along with examples of normal aging.  If you notice any of the warning signs in your aging family members, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends that you see a doctor.  The Association is available 24/7 for any questions regarding memory loss by calling 800.272.3900.

Alzheimer’s Association 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

1.     Memory loss that disrupts daily life.  One of the most common signs of Alzheimer's is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aides such as reminder notes or family members for things they used to handle on one’s own.
What's typical: Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later. 

2.     Challenges in planning or solving problems.  Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
What's typical: Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.

3.     Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.  People with Alzheimer's often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
What's typical: Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.

4.     Confusion with time or place:  People with Alzheimer's can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.
What's typical: Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later. 

5.     Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.  For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer's. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not realize they are the person in the mirror.
What's typical: Vision changes related to cataracts.

6.     New problems with words in speaking or writing.  People with Alzheimer's may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a "watch" a "hand-clock").
What's typical: Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

7.     Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.  A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.
What's typical: Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.

8.     Decreased or poor judgment.  People with Alzheimer's may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.
What's typical: Making a bad decision once in a while.

9.     Withdrawal from work or social activities.  A person with Alzheimer's may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.
What's typical: Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.

10.  Changes in mood and personality.  The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer's can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.
What's typical: Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

“Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias is an important step in getting appropriate treatment, care and support service,” said Nancy Udelson, Executive Director, Cleveland Area Chapter.

Benefits of an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Benefit from treatments that may improve symptoms and help maintain a level of independence longer
  • Have more time to plan for the future
  • Increase chances of successfully finding a clinical drug trial through Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch, helping advance research
  • Participate in decisions about their care, transportation, living options, financial and legal matters
  • Develop a relationship with doctors and care partners
  • Benefit from care and support services, making it easier for them and their family to manage the disease

Anyone with questions about Alzheimer’s disease and/or seeking information should contact the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 toll-free helpline at 800.272.3900.  Experts are available to take calls from individuals concerned with their own cognitive health as well as from family members and friends who may be concerned about a loved one and are seeking resources.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Below is a poem from Evan Collins who lost his grandpa to Alzheimer’s disease. He wrote the poem when he was 11. The family recently participated in Walk to End Alzheimer's in memory of Don Wendorff, Sr.

Thank you to Evan and his aunt Diane Wendorff for sharing with us. :)


I don’t remember my grandpa without his disease,
always confusion in his eyes.
Never knew him for the man he really was,
though people tell me he was funny.
all those heartfelt memories
that he can no longer reminisce.
His last Easter,
all he did was pray,
instead of talking with the family that used to be.
Last thing I ever heard him say was,
“Who are you?” and “Why are you in my bedroom?”
We took hours of mourning,
while he lay helplessly on his death-bed.
Still conscious, he yelled in his head,
battling between life and death.
His last hours were taken in silence,
maybe because he didn’t know the people
in his room, not even his wife.
It was hard for me to see him in pain,
for his body forgot how to eat and breathe.
I don’t remember my grandpa without his disease,
Always confusion in his eyes.
Though I’m unaware of his kindness and humor,
I will still love him for who I knew him as:
My Grandpa.

~Evan Collins