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

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How do you know when it's time to hand over the keys?

Warning signs that it may be time to stop driving

Losing the ability to drive can feel like a threat to a person’s independence. Planning ahead can help ease the transition while providing an opportunity to make choices to ensure safety. 

Determining when someone can no longer safely drive requires careful observation by family and caregivers. 

The following list provides warning signs that it's time to stop driving:
Forgetting how to locate familiar places
Failing to observe traffic signs
Making slow or poor decisions in traffic
Driving at an inappropriate speed
Becoming angry or confused while driving
Hitting curbs
Using poor lane control
Making errors at intersections
Confusing the brake and gas pedals
Returning from a routine drive later than usual
Forgetting the destination you are driving to during the trip

Find more help at the Alzheimer’s Association Dementia and Driving Resource Center, an interactive website created with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  You’ll find video scenarios, tips and strategies.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Joe Trela's Speech from the 2013 A Celebration of Hope Dinner

Good Evening -- I am very pleased and blessed to be here tonight to tell you a bit about my Mom, Mary Trela.  Mom and Dad raised nine of us – and as the baby, or Caboose, as my Mom called me – I think I have served my role as Mom’s favorite pretty darn well these last 25 years!  It is, therefore, my honor to tell you about how Mom’s ongoing battle with Alzheimer’s disease has impacted me so that you understand how much I appreciate your support.

Mom was diagnosed my junior year of college in 2007 at the age of 57.  Only 5% of those with Alzheimer’s are diagnosed before 65.  You can imagine then, how alone I felt because no one my age had a parent who was no longer able to speak her mind, cook dinner, or drive to deliver communion to the homebound on Sundays.  
My whole life I could always count on her love, support, and enthusiastic smiles.  But for more than 3 years, when I couldn't bear to even tell my best friends about Mom - I almost felt Mom was at fault for her condition!  Then, I did not understand that Alzheimer’s doesn't play favorites.
I still struggle with some harsh realities of the cruel nature of Alzheimer’s as a 25-year old man:
·         Alzheimer’s melted away my afternoons watching TV and eating ice cream with Mom.
·         Alzheimer’s prevented my Mom from knowing how proud I was to treat Mom and Dad to dinner after my first paycheck.
·         Alzheimer’s has cut in on my Mother-Son dance at my wedding next summer.
·         Alzheimer’s will have robbed my children the chance to know and love her.
I’m fortunate that I came to realize how precious some of these little moments were – though I fear, I, like many affected by this disease – only come to these realizations when it’s too late in the game.
I’m actually looking forward to the day when we eventually meet each other in heaven.  I’ll swing by to pick up some butter scotch ice cream for her.  Then we’ll go on a long walk talking, laughing, and smiling. 
Mom and her buddy – back together again – without the cloud of dementia selfishly stealing the moments this time.

I cannot thank you all tonight enough for your support of the Alzheimer’s Association and the free programs and services they provide to those affected by the disease.  I am confident that the Alzheimer’s Association’s research efforts we support nationally, and right here in Cleveland, WILL ONE DAY bring my vision of heaven down to earth. 
Our efforts together TODAY will allow a 50-something Mom to reclaim her future before Alzheimer’s steals her mind and body much too early. TOGETHER, we can make sure that this Mom can age gracefully – comfortably enjoying the fruits of her labor and love – because she can be there -- smiling, laughing and radiating happiness -- as her own little “Caboose” grows up, start his career, marries his high school sweetheart, and begins the rest of his life – all with Mom along for the ride!
I would like to also take a brief moment to recognize my dad, Jim Trela.  Dad – you and Mom have been married for 42 years – and your love, support, and unselfish caregiving of your ailing wife these last six years is both humbling and remarkable. As a newly engaged man, I am so fortunate that you have set the standard for what ought to come afterwards when a man agrees to love his spouse by saying, “For better or for worse; and in sickness and in health.” While the memories fade – your love for Mom endures. Thank you, Dad. 

In closing -- my Mom, Mary Trela, inspires me to tackle Alzheimer’s disease.  Thank you for joining me, whatever your inspiration might be.