From the DirectorDear Friends: Thank you for your interest in the Alzheimer’s Association! Just a few thoughts about our organization, as our year draws to an end:
► First, I suspect that the majority of you who read this newsletter are among the thousands of incredible supporters of our annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s! This year we held eight Walks throughout our chapter’s 40-county service area, with new levels of participation and fund raising! Read about our annual signature event in the two-page spread on the 2013 Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Thank you for walking, volunteering, donating, sponsoring, promoting, fund raising or helping in whatever way you contributed to our success.
► Have you noticed the image of happy looking group of people posted on our chapter website? This picture represents the “Friday Group," or Early Stage Social Engagement Program, a weekly gathering in our Fort Worth office of those with early to mid stage Alzheimer’s disease. The group helps participants stay socially and mentally engaged, find support and make new friends. Mainly though, members of the “Friday Group” come because they have a good time! The “Friday Group” differs from our traditional support groups for those with Alzheimer’s disease by emphasizing the social component, including lots of conversation, laughter, food, games, movies, guest speakers, field trips, painting and more! This year-old program is representative of our efforts to find more ways to address the needs of those with Alzheimer’s. For more information call Lisa Buck in the Fort Worth office.
► Speaking of programs for individuals with Alzheimer’s, for many years we have offered more traditional support groups for those in the early stages of the disease. More conversational in nature (while there is fun built in too!), these support groups have proven to be meaningful and are typically well-attended. Support groups for those with the disease, or Early Stage Support Groups, which are time-limited groups, most recently have been offered in Fort Worth, Abilene and Bedford. Those who are interested must meet with staff before participating to assure the group is a good fit. New sessions of each early stage group will begin in February, 2014. Call Gail Phills in the Fort Worth office or Mindy Bannister in the Abilene office to learn more. In addition, the Waco Early Stage Support Group is being revived! On hiatus for the last year or so, a new session also will begin in Waco in February, 2014. See the related article in this newsletter and call Carolyn Berry in the Waco office to learn more.
► A highlight of 2013 that is especially timely to mention is the excitement we have enjoyed over the expansion of REACH, our evidence-based program for caregivers. REACH, the acronym for Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health, provides individualized education, support and skill building for those caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease at home. REACH has been available in Tarrant County since 2009, thanks to designated funding from the United Way. With the award of a three-year grant from the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, REACH was expanded to Parker and Johnson counties. Indicative of the results received in Tarrant County, REACH has been embraced by caregivers in the new areas and there is a waiting list for enrollment. Contact Teresa Linn in the Fort Worth office to learn more about REACH. Do not miss the photo included in this newsletter of Hollie Glover, who manages the REACH program in Parker and Johnson counties, when she attended a recent conference at the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving. Wow, look who she got to meet!
► For the especially ambitious and determined, do be sure you see the article about our newest and fastest fund raiser - ALZ Stars! I am proud to say we have six of our own chapter staff members among the 30-some already training for this running event! Our runners range in age from 15 to 60-something, demonstrating that this disease affects everyone! Read more and consider being or supporting an ALZ Star.
These programs are examples of how our chapter continues to expand our local reach in addressing the needs of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. In 2013, we continued to consistently and competently be THE place to turn in North Central Texas when dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. Through efforts like Walk to End Alzheimer’s and ALZ Stars, dollars raised enable us to continue our pivotal role as the primary community resource for those affected by Alzheimer’s while also tangibly supporting the advancement of research through our national office.
Please accept our thanks for the support received by the Alzheimer’s Association - North Central Texas Chapter in 2013. If it is within your means, please continue your support as we develop new ways and expand existing programs to reach more who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Wishing you peace and joy this holiday season!
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