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Welcome to the Senior Resource Connect blog. You can visit the blog each Wednesday at 10am for the latest information about aging, caregiving, COVID, and local resources.

Spotlight: Alzheimer’s Association (Michigan Chapter)

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June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. The Alzheimer’s Association offers a variety of free programs, services for individuals living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, funding for Alzheimer’s and dementia research, and more. Today on the blog we’re excited to speak with Kayla Jakel, Program Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association (Michigan Chapter), about all that the Alzheimer’s Association has to offer.  

 

Senior Resource Connect: If you had to give an “elevator speech” about what your organization does, how would you describe it? 

Kayla Jackel: The Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter is the premier source of information and support for Michigan residents living with dementia and their families and caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association offers a broad range of free programs and services, funding for Alzheimer’s and dementia research, and advocacy efforts on behalf of Michiganders. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other forms of dementia. 

 

SRC: Walk me through the step-by-step process. What happens when you get a phone call? 

KJ: To learn more or get involved with any of our programs and services anyone can call our 24/7 helpline at (800) 272-3900 and they’ll talk to someone to assess the situation and see what it is they need. Helpline staff can share information about local resources, sign up callers for local programs, or answer questions about the disease. Our helpline is available in over 200 languages! Other options to reach out to our helpline include messaging our chat (available daily from 7 am – 7 pm) or emailing [email protected]. 

 

SRC: What organizations do you work closely with? 

KJ: We partner with organizations throughout the state to offer some of our programs and services; some of our partnerships host our support groups, education programs and our social engagement programs. We have many organizations that are resources listed on our information and referral listing to provide when callers call our helpline. We are thankful for all the partners we work with! 

 

SRC: What are some things you wish the public knew about your role or agency? 

KJ: That we are here to help – whether you want to learn more about brain health, have memory concerns, just were diagnosed, or you’ve been caring for someone for a while we are here for you. We have programs and services that can help! A lot of people don’t know about all the different programs that we do offer. 

 

SRC: What tips do you have for someone with a loved one that may be showing signs of Alzheimer’s? 

KJ: Memory loss that starts to disrupt daily life may be a sign of Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. There are 10 warning signs and symptoms. If you notice any of them, don’t ignore them. Schedule an appointment with your doctor. 

If you want to learn more about the warning signs you can visit our website, join us for one of our free education programs, or call our helpline. 

 

SRC: What tips do you have for someone who may need help getting an official diagnosis? 

KJ: To get a diagnosis people will oftentimes start with their primary care doctor. The doctor will evaluate your overall health and identify any conditions that could affect how well your mind is working. In some cases, your primary care doctor can and will make the diagnosis based on testing and in other cases, they will refer you to a specialist. Those specialists can evaluate memory and thinking issues and make the diagnose, they include; 

  • Neurologists- specialize in diseases of the brain and nervous system. 
  • Psychiatrists- trained in general psychiatry with additional training in mental health and aging. 
  • Psychologists- have special training in testing to assess thinking abilities, including memory, attention, language, reading and problem-solving skills. 
  • Geriatricians- specialize in the care of older adults and dementia. On our website, alz.org, we have a page that is about visiting the doctor for the diagnosis, questions to ask, what to bring and so much more. 

 

SRC: What resources do you offer for caregivers? 

KJ: We offer many different types of free resources for not only caregivers but people living with dementia, as well. These include: 

  • 24/7 Helpline – 800.272.3900 
  • Education Programs – includes programs on Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia, The 10 Warning Signs, Communicating Effectively, Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body and many others. This can be in person or virtual. 
  • Support Groups – These are offered both in person and virtually throughout the state. 
  • Social Engagement Programs – Both the person living with dementia and their care partner can attend free social and recreational opportunities through local arts and cultural outings. 
  • Care Counseling – Care and support in navigating through the disease process. It includes a needs assessment, care plan and resources. This can be over the phone, zoom, in our office, or in the home depending on where you live. 
  • Wandering Support Scholarships -Scholarships to pay for wandering support. 
  • Developmental Disability Supportive Services Program – includes education, behavior management and activity planning consultations 

 

SRC: Is there anything you would like to add? 

KJ: Our helpline is available 24/7 (800.272.3900) to answer any questions you may have, and you can visit our website at Alz.org/gmc or email us or email at [email protected] for more information. 

 

Thank you so much Kayla for sharing these excellent resources provided by the Alzheimer’s Association! To learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association, visit their website at alz.org/gmc.   

Visit the Senior Resource Connect Online Senior Resource Directory to learn more about Alzheimer’s and dementia resources in your community. 

 

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