Donate Now
Home | News | Events | Press | Contact  

About UseNewsletterMessage BoardsAction CenterAdvocateWalk to End Alzheimer’sShopDonate

Find your chapter:

search by state

In My Community

Join us on:

Local News
Text Size controlsNormal font sizeMedium font sizeLarge font size

Tenancy Available at Alzheimer's Association New Home


Renovations have begun at the future home of the Alzheimer's Association Orange County. Located with immediate access to the 405 and 5 freeways, and in close proximity to John Wayne Airport, the new location will expand our ability to serve the ever-growing population affected by Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.

There are more than 10,000 square feet available for lease.

Click here for details.

2515 McCabe Way
Irvine, CA 92614


Compassionate communication is the best tactic for Alzheimer's caregivers

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, or any form of dementia, can be tremendously difficult on the entire family. Professional caregivers may struggle to cope with the ever-increasing memory loss experienced by those in their care. So just imagine how hard it is for an “amateur” caregiver – usually a spouse, an adult child or sometimes a friend. Simple wisdom can spare some grief — consider this sampling of “do’s” and “don’ts” that can reframe the frustration experienced by families. Liz Ayres, former Alzheimer’s Association support group leader and caregiver, who passed away in 2012, left an enduring legacy with a communication style based on generosity and graciousness. The over-arching message is that no one can control memory loss – not you, not the patient and not even the doctor. All you can do is control your reaction to memory loss, by using “compassionate communication,” which can significantly heighten quality of life. “Their disability is memory loss,” said Ayres. “They can’t help it. Asking them to remember is like asking a blind person to read. Don’t ask questions they can’t easily answer and don’t ‘test’ them.” Among the “don’ts” suggested by the Alzheimer’s Association:

  • Don't reason
  • Don't argue
  • Don't confront
  • Don't remind them they forget
  • Don't question recent memory
  • Don't take it personally

At the Alzheimer’s Association, staff and volunteers caution that the normal reasoning we do with each other in everyday life doesn’t work with a person suffering from dementia. Instead, they recommend a set of “do’s” that work far better:

  • Give short, one-sentence explanations
  • Allow plenty of time for comprehension - then triple it
  • Repeat instructions exactly the same way each time
  • Eliminate "but" from your vocabulary; use "nevertheless" instead
  • Avoid insistence - just try again later
  • Agree or distract them to a different subject or activity
  • When something seems wrong to them, accept the blame (even if untrue)
  • Avoid confrontations - if necessary, leave the room
  • Respond to their feelings, not their words
  • Go with the flow - be patient, cheering and reassuring
  • Practice 100 percent forgiveness - memory loss progresses daily

Caregivers of all types – family or professional – sometimes find themselves with an ethical dilemma: should I tell the truth or a little white lie? The Alzheimer’s Association advises families to do what will be least harmful, usually a diversion tactic. For example, if an individual with Alzheimer’s inquires about a spouse who has passed away, rather than reminding the person of this sadness, change the topic, start a fun activity or reminisce about the spouse, telling the person something you enjoyed doing with the individual.

“This is really an act of kindness, by not reinforcing bad memories for them. You don’t have to pretend the person is alive, but you can avoid admitting he or she is gone,” Ayres said.

One thing to keep in mind, which may help guide a caregiver’s reactions, is that a person with dementia is fearful most of the time. With the progressive nature of many dementias, reactions may vary from individual to individual and may fluctuate in the short and long term. Different reactions can include becoming passive, uncooperative, hostile, agitated, verbally abusive or physically combative. Almost all experience high anxiety levels.

Your goal is to reduce anxiety whenever possible. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, repeating reassurance is not redundant; it is necessary.

As a caregiver of a loved one, you can reduce fear and anxiety to improve quality of life. Rather than asking open-ended questions such as, “where shall we go?” offer two options, i.e. a walk to the park or a walk to the store, or direct the person’s choice, “let’s take a walk to the park.”

Another piece of timeless Ayres advice is to consider the Alzheimer’s Association a good friend. “The Alzheimer’s Association knows what you are going through, what works best, and what doesn’t. The organization knows what resources are available, and it’s entirely free. There is never any charge for what is provided to families.”

On the national level, the Alzheimer’s Association provides resources for families throughout the country. Locally, Alzheimer’s Association Orange County guides both pros and family caregivers through the process, including support groups, training sessions, a 24/7 Helpline and numerous educational resources.
For more information, please contact the Alzheimer’s Association at the 24/7 Helpline at (800) 272-3900, or visit the website,

Orange County Register
September 6, 2013

The Alzheimer's Association of Orange County today is kicking off free training sessions for caretakers.

"Our population is aging and more and more people are being diagnosed, and so family caregivers especially need to understand how to cope and provide optimal care for their loved ones," said Patty Mouton, vice president of outreach and advocacy for the Orange County chapter.

The interactive, four-and-a-half hour training sessions are geared toward a "person-centered" approach, focusing on the patient rather than the disease.  For example, people with Alzheimer's may not recognize familiar tools such as a toothbrush.  Under the "person-centered care," caregivers might be able to help patients remember by putting toothpaste on their brush or mimicking brushing.

These training sessions are a new offering by the Orange County Chapter.  Participants such as nurses or social workers can also receive four continuing education units.

Orange County Register
By JIM MCALEER / Guest Columnist
August 13, 2013

Chances are that if you're reading this piece, you have a connection to Alzheimer's. More than 83,000 Orange County residents have or are at immediate risk for Alzheimer's or related dementias, making it the fourth-leading cause of death countywide. Many of us know a family member or dear friend who is part of this growing number dealing with the neurodegenerative illness that weakens the memory and other cognitive and emotional functions.

Countless families reach out each year to the Alzheimer's Association looking for help, reassurance, care and, perhaps most important, hope. Hope comes in many forms, including groundbreaking information and care, support and research into promising new treatments and prevention measures. In July, I traveled to the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Boston where, along with almost 5,000 scientists and clinicians, I learned that the best minds in the world are telling us that:

•  Exercise and diet are still our best bet: With three drugs failing their stage three trials recently and no real front-runner for a pharmaceutical cure on the early horizon, scientists at AAIC offered a number of presentations that showed a Mediterranean diet still has the strongest evidence for possibly slowing the progression of Alzheimer's or delaying its onset. Exercise and social engagement were also shown to have the greatest body of evidence linking them to prevention, perhaps due to their connection to heart health. 
•  Keeping the brain engaged keeps us in the game: A French study of 429,000 subjects demonstrated that prolonging retirement can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's. Other studies showed that social engagement delayed onset. A recent journal article supported computer programs that "train" the brain. Learn a new language, join a social club, take a cooking class or form a book club. Whether it's continuing to work or just continuing to stimulate the brain through recreation, it's clear that staying engaged helps.
•  Early is key: The earlier interventions are implemented, the more effective they are. Not only did the Federal Drug Administration indicate it might allow drugs into the market if they show only modest impact on functioning in early stage Alzheimer's (a shift from current policy), research at AAIC reiterated that the earlier you know you have a memory issue and introduce medications, exercise and lifestyle changes, the greater their impact.

Since 1982, Alzheimer's Association, Orange County Chapter, has been providing programs and services, free of charge, to Orange County residents with Alzheimer's and related disorders, their families, caregivers and the community.

If you are concerned that you have memory issues or if you have been diagnosed with any form of memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer's disease, clinical trials may provide game-changing outcomes. You can volunteer for a clinical trial where a new drug is being tested to see if it has an impact. Go to for more details.

There also are many free resources available to you and your family including support groups, referrals to financial planners, physicians, education on the disease, treatments, legislation and advocacy and more. Perhaps you just need to talk to someone who understands. Give us a call on our 24/7 helpline at 1-800-272-3900 or go to – Jim McAleer is the president and chief executive officer of the Orange County Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.

$5.1 Million Irvine-based Building Increases Visibility & Capacity to Serve
County’s 83,000-Plus People Affected by Disease

IRVINE, Calif. (July 24, 2013) – Alzheimer’s Association today announced that it has purchased a $5.1 million office building to serve as the new Orange County headquarters. Facing the I405 freeway in Irvine, the 30,000 square foot building will house the organization’s staff and act as a focal point for all services, offered at no cost to those affected by Alzheimer’s in Orange County.

Alzheimer’s Association will renovate the building to host its many programs and activities, including support groups and caregiver education. Brokered by David Girty of Coldwell Banker Commercial and Marty Stradtman, the new building will increase staff productivity in the redesigned, efficiency-optimized workspace. A “Memory Walk” will offer a serene garden setting for people with Alzheimer’s, their caregivers and families. The five month renovation is set to begin September 2013.

“The new building is vital to increase our capacity to help the more than 83,000 people who are affected by Alzheimer’s and related dementias, along with the hundreds of thousands of family members and caregivers who support them,” said Jim McAleer, president and CEO of Alzheimer’s Association, Orange County Chapter. “Currently, our resources only enable us to serve 26 percent of the affected population. This building is an important next step toward helping those in need and ultimately achieving our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.”

The acquisition of the building is a primary focus of the Alzheimer’s Association Cornerstone Campaign to raise $10 million to increase the services and support for those who are affected by the disease in Orange County.

“Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., but the fourth largest in Orange County,” said McAleer. “A projected 250,000 Orange County residents are expected to contract the disease in the next 40 years, profoundly impacting our local healthcare system. It is imperative to create the capacity to effectively respond to this dramatic increase in the Alzheimer’s population.”

Rallies Community to Turn Purple to Bring Much-Needed Awareness
to Impact of Alzheimer’s in Orange County

IRVINE, Calif. (July 17, 2013) – Alzheimer’s Association today announced its new GO Purple OC campaign during the week of September 23rd to rally the Orange County community to turn well-known landmarks, city halls, retail shopping centers and other locations purple to increase awareness of the cause and inspire action.

“Alzheimer’s disease is the fourth-leading cause of death in Orange County, which has a profound impact on our community and its healthcare system,” said Jim McAleer, President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, Orange County Chapter. “The GO Purple OC campaign will mobilize citizens and businesses to increase local awareness for our cause and further strengthen efforts to help the more than 83,000 people affected by the disease and their families.”

Local businesses and organizations that have pledged to GO Purple include the following: Chapman University, Discovery Science Center, 959 The Fish, Go Country 105, Los Angeles Angels, OC Social Scene, Orange County Business Journal and The Orange County Register.
Orange County Alzheimer’s champions who will participate in GO Purple OC are Churm Media CEO Steve Churm, Angel Baseball Hall of Famer Bobby Grich, Wahoo’s Fish Taco Owner Wing Lam and Go Country 105 morning DJ Shawn Parr.

“GO Purple OC will help spread the word about the many support services that the Alzheimer’s Association offers Orange County residents who are affected by the disease,” said Shawn Parr, Go Country 105 morning DJ. “We are proud to GO Purple in September and help this important cause.”

Currently, Alzheimer’s Association serves only 26 percent of the approximately 83,000 people affected by the disease, leaving more than 60,000 individuals as well as hundreds of thousands of caregivers and family members without the care that they need.

Individuals and businesses can make a difference in the fight against Alzheimer’s. Ideas on how to participate in the GO Purple OC initiative include:
• Wear purple during the GO Purple OC week of September 23rd
• Form a fundraising team for a Walk to End Alzheimer’s this Fall at
• Share “GO Purple” photos and activities on the campaign’s social media channels by sending to

Visit to view the Alzheimer’s Association GO Purple OC Electronic Toolkit.
For more information about Go Purple OC, contact the Idea Hall GO Purple OC team by email at or by phone 714.436.0855.

Local chapter receives estate gift from long-time Orange County resident, family was served by the Alzheimer’s Association.

Read the Orange County Register Article >>

Cornerstone Campaign:
Care, Cure, Capacity
By giving to our Cornerstone Campaign focused on Care, Cure and Capacity, you are investing in a world without Alzheimer's

Care: Currently, we serve only 26% of the affected population in Orange County -- leaving over 60,000 people and their families without the care they need. A gift to Care makes it possible for us to continue providing no-cost services and support to local families in need. 

Cure: The number of affected individuals continues to grow unabated as scientists seek a cure, and is projected to triple by 2050. Dollars given to the Cure initiative will advance Alzheimer’s science in pursuit of a cure, effective treatments and prevention.

Capacity: Every 68 seconds someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Funding dedicated to Capacity will be devoted to ensuring the ongoing and expanded availability of programs to address the growing demand.

Make a secure online donation >>

To learn more about the Cornerstone Campaign, contact Ann at or 949.757.3714.




Alzheimer's Association

Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.