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In November 2007, the Alzheimer's Association, the leading resource for Alzheimer's care, launched a suite of resources that provide information to ease decision making, build skills to care for loved ones, and keep people living with the disease safe. November was both National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month. Currently, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease and almost 10 million people are caring for someone with Alzheimer's or another dementia. Caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease poses special challenges. Although memory loss is the most widely known symptom, as the disease progresses it also causes confusion, loss of orientation, and, frequently, changes in personality and behavior. Individuals with Alzheimer's require increasing levels of care, supervision, and provision for their safety. The Alzheimer's Association provides programs and services that help people affected by Alzheimer's at every stage of the disease, including a toll-free help line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (800-272-3900), an informative Web site (http://www.alz.org), and local services, including information and referral, care consultation, peer- and professional-support groups, and educational material resources.

 

The Alzheimer's Association is proud to announce the following collaborative service:

 

* Safe Return Enhancement: MedicAlert + Alzheimer's Association Safe Return. More than 60% of persons with Alzheimer's wander at some point during the course of the disease, often repeatedly. Wandering can be dangerous-even life threatening-for the person who wanders, and the stress can weigh heavily on caregivers and family. The Alzheimer's Association created a marketing alliance with MedicAlert to create MedicAlert + Alzheimer's Association Safe Return, specifically designed for people living with Alzheimer's and dementia. MedicAlert + Safe Return provides assistance when a person with Alzheimer's or a related dementia wanders and becomes lost locally or far from home. When someone enrolled in the program wanders, caregivers call a toll-free help line to report it to activate a community support network, including local Alzheimer's Association chapters and law enforcement agencies, to help reunite the lost person with his or her caregiver. To date, 99% of persons registered with Safe Return have been found. However, once they are found, wanderers often require medical attention. The new partnership with MedicAlert enables first responders to access the wanderer's personal health records and quickly treat the individual. For more information on MedicAlert + Safe Return, visit http://www.alz.org or http://www.medicalert.org/safereturn or call 800-607-2696.

 

 

The Alzheimer's Association has produced a new section on http://www.alz.org called "CareSource," where caregivers can find useful tools for decision making and care. CareSource incorporates the following tools:

 

* Senior Housing Finder: One of the most difficult times for millions of caregivers comes when they can no longer care for their loved one with dementia at home and must find housing. Recognizing the need for a resource to aid these families, the Alzheimer's Association and SNAPforSeniors developed the first national dementia-specific senior housing database, called Alzheimer's Association Senior Housing Finder. This free, Web-based tool allows users to search and screen senior housing options throughout the United States by location, facility name, license type, availability, care services, and lifestyle amenities. It even allows users to view the dementia care levels a facility provides, consistent with the 7 stages of Alzheimer's disease progression. The Senior Housing Finder is available at no cost through http://www.alz.org.

 

* CareFinder: In addition to providing people with information on housing options through Senior Housing Finder, http://www.alz.org also houses CareFinder, which provides detailed information on various issues surrounding care options, including planning ahead, care options, coordinating care, and support and resources. CareFinder helps people understand what type of care is appropriate given their needs and preference.

 

* Lotsa Helping Hands: Nearly 1 in 4 caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias provide 40 hours a week or more of care. Seventy-one percent sustain this commitment for more than a year, and 32% do so for 5 years or more. The Alzheimer's Association has added a tool that provides assistance for caregivers and people living with Alzheimer's. The service, called Lotsa Helping Hands, is a free online service to help take care of a loved one with Alzheimer's or their caregivers. The service is an easy-to-use, private group calendar that is specifically designed for organizing helpers through which everyone can pitch in with meal deliveries, rides, and other tasks. Needs are posted on a personalized Web site, where the group calendar is automatically updated. Members sign up to help, which the calendar also tracks automatically. Notification and reminder emails are sent to the appropriate parties.

 

 

CareSource also features a section with quick links to message boards where people can connect with others in a similar situation. Helpful training videos and DVDs are also available at CareSource. If you have been touched by Alzheimer's or are a caregiver to someone with the disease, there is help. For more helpful information and resources, visit CareSource at http://www.alz.org or call 800-272-3900.

 

The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary healthcare organization in Alzheimer's care, support, and research. Its mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research, provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. For more information, visit http://www.alz.org.

 

MedicAlert Foundation provides personal health records with a mission to protect and save lives. Since 1956, MedicAlert has relayed vital medical information on behalf of members to emergency responders so that they receive faster and safer treatment. MedicAlert emblems, worn as bracelets or pendants, can alert emergency personnel to a member's primary health conditions. In addition to a 24-hour emergency response service, family notification helps members be reunited with their families. For more information, visit http://www.medicalert.org.

 

SNAPforSeniors, Inc., is a Seattle-based information services company that offers free online database and search tools intended to empower users to make informed decisions about senior housing options. Founded in 2005, SNAPforSeniors provides the most current database of all licensed senior housing in the United States and a growing number of independent living communities. SNAPforSeniors (which stands for Search New Available Places) licenses its data and search application to leading third-party Web sites, such as hospitals, nonprofit organizations, and various commercial entities that serve seniors and their families. For more information, visit http://www.snapforseniors.com.

 

Lotsa Helping Hands is a simple, immediate way for friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to assist loved ones in need. It's an easy-to-use, private group calendar specifically designed for organizing helpers, where everyone can pitch in with meal delivery, rides, and other tasks necessary for life to run smoothly during times of medical crisis, end-of-life caring, or family caregiver exhaustion. It's also a place to keep these "circles of community" informed with status updates, photo galleries, message boards, and more. Lotsa Helping Hands was created after witnessing 4 years of awe-inspiring community support and response to a family member's serious medical crisis. Seeing how earnestly friends wanted to help and juggling the challenge of organizing their assistance, the creators of Lotsa Helping Hands designed the service with an understanding of how to bring together various social circles and what a resulting community like this would need. Special attention was paid to making this caregiving coordination service intuitive enough to begin using immediately.