The Alzheimer’s Association’s free 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900) is available 365 days a year, which means the dedicated people who answer calls are working around the clock, continually offering confidential support to people living with the disease, caregivers, families and the public.
The Helpline team members spend their days listening to the stories of those in need, and we wanted to know: what are some of the songs and personal memories getting them through these difficult times, and how are they navigating the challenges of the pandemic?
Jeanne, Helpline Agent
Jeanne has been working at the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 Helpline since 2017, having previously worked with the Association in another capacity from 2008-2011. An Illinois-based Alzheimer’s advocate, Jeanne had planned to don her purple and attend the 2020 Advocacy Forum in D.C. this March before it was cancelled for the safety and health of our advocates due to COVID-19. She fights to end Alzheimers on behalf of her beloved Aunt Barb, who was diagnosed with the disease four years ago. “I’m very close to my aunt. She is like a second mother to me,” Jeanne says.
The mother of three boys, ages 14, 10 and 9, Jeanne is tackling the world of e-Learning during the pandemic. Throughout all of life’s daily challenges and changes, her passion is to help those grappling with Alzheimer’s and other dementia, and anyone in need. “Alzheimer’s doesn’t stop and neither can we. We are here for you! Call us and we can help you get through these difficult times.”
Marlene, Helpline Agent
Marlene has worked for the Alzheimer’s Association since 2016. After losing her father to dementia, she wanted to educate herself about the disease, since she didn’t understand the behaviors he had displayed during his illness. “Since gaining knowledge through Association training, I was able to help more of the people I love. I was not there for my father the way I wish I had been, but knowing I was a great help and comfort to my family that has since been affected by Alzheimer’s has helped ease my broken heart.”
Marlene wants to be of service to anyone dealing with the challenges and struggles associated with Alzheimer's, providing information and comfort. “When people express their thanks for those of us working at the Helpline 24/7, all the struggles are well worth it.”
Rachel, Helpline Agent
When Rachel began working at the Helpline, she didn’t have a personal connection to Alzheimer’s or dementia, but she always enjoyed working with older adults. “I majored in Gerontology and got my Master’s in Social Work with the intent of serving the aging community. After volunteering and interning at facilities where I met people living with dementia, I learned about the complicated, devastating and sometimes beautiful aspects of this disease, both for people living with dementia and their caregivers.”
Working at the Helpline has helped everything come full circle for Rachel. “Never a day goes by that doesn’t include moments of heartbreak, but there is also never a day I don’t help someone in need. Every day, I become more motivated to fight to end Alzheimer’s.”
During her time with the Association, a close family member of Rachel’s has begun to develop dementia. “While it has been difficult, I feel lucky. I have every tool at my disposal, along with the most supportive work environment I’ve ever been a part of. It further fuels my desire to do everything I can to end Alzheimer’s.”
Van, Helpline Agent
Van was excited to begin working at the 24/7 Helpline in 2016.
While earning a Bachelor of Arts at Roosevelt University, Van became passionate about advocating for vulnerable populations throughout the Chicagoland area.
“My grandmother has Alzheimer's, and we love watching the show “Supernatural” together,” Van says. Van fights to end Alzheimer’s by providing guidance and compassion around the clock for all those affected.
Susie, with Association since 1997, Helpline since 2018
March 2020 marked 23 years working at the Alzheimer's Association for Susie, who has been affected by the disease on a personal level. “My mom was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 1994. She died at my home at the age of 72, having battled Alzheimer's bravely for more than eight years.”
Alzheimer's can cause our loved ones to act in unpredictable (sometimes funny, scary, or seemingly magical) ways. “When Mom felt agitated, we would go for walks around the neighborhood looking for pine cones and unique little rocks. Our neighbors knew my mom had Alzheimer's, so they were extremely kind when they saw us ‘stealing’ little rocks from their beautiful landscapes. These walks helped to alleviate mom's anxiety and helped prevent her from wandering. I am grateful for every day I had with her.”
Susie and her colleagues remain dedicated to serving all those impacted by Alzheimer’s and other dementias while they face new challenges at work and at home during the COVID-19 crisis. “No matter how you are affected during these challenging times, today, like every day, we are here to help you navigate through difficult decisions you may face at every stage of the disease.”
We are here for you.
Three Ways to Connect to the Helpline:
We are so thankful for all those people who continue to serve their communities during times of crisis. Please consider leaving a message of support for the staff of the Helpline in our comment section as they continue to support families affected by Alzheimer’s every day.
- Call us. We are available around the clock, 365 days a year at 800.272.3900 (TTY: 866.403.3073).
- Chat with us. Click the “Live Chat” green button on this page to connect with a member of our Helpline staff.
- Online. Use this form to let us know how we can help you.