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Alzheimer’s Association adapts and innovates during health crisis


Alzheimer’s Disease isn’t stopping because of COVID-19, but neither is the Alzheimer’s Association New Mexico chapter (AANM).

Plans are underway for a number of upcoming events, including the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which is planned for Saturday, Sept. 19, in Las Cruces, said AA Southwestern Regional Development Manager Emily Chaddock.

Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, the walk is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.  

“We are looking forward to celebrating and honoring our loved ones with all of you,” Chaddock said. “We hope we still have your support so we can continue to move our mission forward. A world without Alzheimer's is our vision and we are still working hard to make this vision a reality. We will be proactive in notifying everyone of any changes regarding our event. Please continue to check our website for updates."

Electronic Caregiver (ECG) of Las Cruces has already pledged its support for the local walk. ECG staff are volunteering on the Las Cruces walk committee board, and a team of ECG employees will participate in the walk, the company.

"We want to help bring awareness to the Las Cruces area to join in the fight against Alzheimer's,” said ECG Care Partner Coordinator Amber Ochoa, who is a member of the recruitment team for the Las Cruces Walk to End Alzheimer's Planning Committee. “We created a team (The Care Bears) where our staff and family can help make an impact. Electronic Caregiver walks in support of one day changing the lives of people who manage life with Alzheimer's. It's in our name, we walk because we care. Together we can make a difference."

You can say that Electronic Caregiver employees sit on the Walk to End Alzheimer's Planning Committee and that we have formed a team, called The Care Bears, in which many ECG employees and their families will participate in the event.

AANM’s staff is working remotely and continues to be available via phone, email and online, said AANM Executive Director Tim Sheahan.

AANM is also offering a number of free resources electronically that New Mexicans can access from home, including caregiver trainings, legal roadmaps for caregivers and webinars designed specifically for family caregivers of loved ones with dementia during this crisis of COVID-19.  Some of the latest offerings include:

  • Caring for the Caregiver: Stress-Busting Techniques During COVID-19. Noon-1 p.m. Monday, May 4, presented by Alzheimer's Association board member Adrian Rodriguez. Learn techniques that help caregivers develop practical strategies for reducing stress during the public health emergency. To register, call 1-800-272-3900 or visit www.communityresourcefinder.org/ResourceView/Index?id=1846221&profileDefinitionId=93.
  • Skills – Mid-Day Webinar for Dementia Caregivers. Presented in four daily, one-hour sessions: 11 a.m.-noon each day, Tuesday-Friday, May 12-15. Helping caregivers understand the disease, how it affects thinking, feelings and behaviors as well as the importance of self-care. To register, call 1-800-272-3900 or visit www.communityresourcefinder.org/ResourceView/Index?id=1846227&profileDefinitionId=93.
  • Legal Road Map: Planning Ahead for Dementia Caregivers. 10-11 a.m. Tuesday, May 19, presented by attorneys Margaret A. Graham and Daniel J. Monte of Pregenzer, Baysinger, Wideman & Sale, PC. Early legal and financial planning is critical for families facing Alzheimer’s disease. This webinar helps caregivers plan with confidence and map out the legal road ahead. To register, call 1-800-272-3900 or visit www.communityresourcefinder.org/ResourceView/Index?id=1847906&profileDefinitionId=93.

The Alzheimer’s Association also offers many free online resources:

  • Free 24/7/365 helpline: 1-800-272-3900. Professional staff provides reliable information and support to all those who need assistance.
  • Call the Alzheimer’s Association in New Mexico at 505-266-4473, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.
  • For tips for family caregivers during COVID-19, Visit https://alz.org/help-support/caregiving/coronavirus-(covid-19)-tips-for-dementia-care.
  • For guidelines for professional long-term and community-based care providers during COVID-19, visit https://alz.org/professionals/professional-providers/coronavirus-covid-19-tips-for-dementia-caregivers.
  • For the latest in NMAA webinars, call 1-800-272-3900 or visit www.communityresourcefinder.org. Click on “Alzheimer’s Association Programs and Events.”
  • Visit www.alz.org/training to access presentations like 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's or Understanding Alzheimer's and Dementia and more, including many with Spanish-language options.
  • Visit www.alz.org/help-support/resources/online-tools for online tools, answers, local resources and support.
  • Visit www.alz.org/facts for the 2020 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report.
  • Call 1-800-272-3900 or visit www.communityresourcefinder.org to learn about virtual support groups.

Today, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. By 2050, that number is expected to rise to nearly 14 million. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. In New Mexico, an estimated 43,000 people over age 65 are living with Alzheimer’s. There are about 108,000 unpaid dementia caregivers statewide, including many family members of Alzheimer’s patients.

Currently, there is no prevention, proven treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer's Association is the largest and most impactful nonprofit funder of Alzheimer's and dementia science in the world. It is currently is investing more than $167 million in more than 500 projects in 27 countries.