by Patricia Hunter, MSW, Director of Programs & Policy, Alzheimer's Association Western & Central Washington State Chapter
When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, you are not alone. That is the message the Alzheimer’s Association is sending out to people with Alzheimer’s, their families and caregivers across Washington State during National Alzheimer’s Disease Month (NADM), which occurs every November and was established by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. The Alzheimer’s Association has launched its “Make the First Call” campaign to educate the public to reach out for information and assistance by calling the Association any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-800-848-7097.
The Western and Central Washington State Chapter offers confidential services, staffed by experienced specialists who provide callers with information about dementia, Alzheimer’s diagnosis, treatment options, caregiving information, community services, and crisis assistance. Callers can access these services in more than 140 languages. The chapter also offers individualized care consultation, education, and support groups for diagnosed individuals and their families.
Nancy Dapper, executive director of the chapter, wants people to know that “Alzheimer’s is a devastating and overwhelming disease and people often feel ashamed by it or don’t know where to turn for help. We want people to know that the Alzheimer’s Association is here to help.” One simple call to the Alzheimer’s Association can be the first step to helping individuals and families regain some control and confidence in their lives. “The Alzheimer’s Association staff and volunteers are trained and knowledgeable individuals ready to listen with a sympathetic ear. No question or concern is unimportant to us,” said Dapper.