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Stay up to date with everything going on at the Alzheimer's Association Iowa Chapter from fundraising and events to programs to public policy with our quarterly volunteer newsletter. 

Vol. 2 - December 2020 

General I Fundraising & Events I Programs I Public Policy I Board of Directors
 

General

It has been quite a year (and it's not yet over). I will be curious as to what high school history teachers 25 years from now will be saying about 2020!
In 25 years, Alzheimer’s disease can be history. While that may seem like a bold statement, scientific breakthroughs are giving us more and more hope everyday that we are on the cusp of finding new ways of treating this devastating disease. From prevention measures (diet/exercise) to promising medications in development to a potential blood test to determine likelihood of dementia, the scientific community has learned a lot about this disease over the last several years.
However, there is still much we do not know. That is why we feel a sense of urgency every single day to end Alzheimer’s. This is why we are eternally thankful for all of our volunteer advocates that keep pushing for increased Alzheimer’s research funding at the federal level. It is why we are thankful for our support group facilitators and community educators that help Iowans going through a diagnosis in their families. It is why we are thankful for all of the volunteers on our event committees, ensuring that we are raising the money necessary to continue our work.
Thanks to you, I am confident that we will indeed achieve our ultimate vision – a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.
I hope you enjoy and appreciate your time with family and friends during this Holiday season.

- Doug Bickford, Executive Director, Alzheimer's Association Iowa Chapter


Fundraising & Events

Walk to End Alzheimer's®
This year, Walk was everywhere, and our proud supporters helped turn every sidewalk, trail and neighborhood across the state purple all while raising critical donations. We held 18 Walks throughout the state, and with the help of our dedicated Walk teams, committees, sponsors and supporters, we raised over $1 million!

And our Walk season isn’t over yet! Donations can still be made through the end of the year to our dedicated Walk teams by visiting alz.org/Walk.

The Longest Day®
The Longest Day campaign has already started for 2021, and we're excited that so far over 20 people have signed up and raised over $2,800 during our Early Bird registration period. 
Those who register by December 21, the winter solstice, will receive limited edition TLD sunglasses with a case & an upgraded T-shirt.

If you're interested in learning about this year's TLD campaign, the fun challenges and prizes you can earn and get great fundraising ideas from others, join our The Longest Day - Iowa Facebook group.   

Though we celebrate The Longest Day on June 20, we also encourage supporters to hold fundraisers throughout the year to help raise awareness and fight the darkness of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. If you'd like to sign up for The Longest Day, become a volunteer for the statewide, The Longest Day Planning Committee, visit thelongestday.org

Memories in the Making
On November 12, we held our annual Memories in the Making program and auction virtually on Facebook live, and so far over 1,300 people have viewed our inspiring program. Thanks to our dedicated supporters, we raised almost $22,000 through sponsorship, donations and the auction.

Memories in the Making is a one-of-a-kind event that features the artwork created through the Memories in the Making art therapy program. The beautiful paintings were auctioned off, and with the dollars raised, the Alzheimer’s Association can continue to provide care and support to families during these difficult times while also advancing critical research toward methods of treatment and prevention.  

 

Programs

Over the past few months, we have held trainings for our Support Group Facilitators and Community Educators. If you weren't able to attend, please watch the recordings from the trainings below and sign up for our next training sessions in early 2021. Please reach out to Sherita at snjenkins@alz.org or 319.238.7637 to register or for more information.

Fall Support Group Facilitator Training Date: Sep 30, 2020
View recording here with Passcode #cp2g^!p

Next Training: January 13, 2021 11am to 1pm
 
Fall Community Educator Training Date: Nov 5, 2020
View recording here with Passcode !vg6&akN

Next Training: February 4, 2021 11am to 1pm

November was the first month we utilized our newest volunteer role - Support Group Mentor. Two existing volunteers stepped forward to fill this unique role: Susan Callison and Ken Gregersen. Susan is working with veteran Support Group Facilitators to provide insight, advice, and additional support concerning facilitating, and Ken is working with new volunteers to guide and mentor them in their new role. Ken and Susan have great experience as facilitators, and will share valuable information with other volunteers. 
Copy-of-Ken-and-Susan-Newsletter.png

We continue to receive more inquiries about virtual educational programs, and we are always happy to have a new connection to get information out about Alzheimer's and all other dementias to more people. Many requests are coming from employers and organizations, so feel free to connect us with businesses you think may be interested.

We know how important support groups are, especially during the winter months and during the holidays. We have introduced two new virtual groups to help: a dementia grief group, geared towards those that have recently lost a loved one; and a social engagement group, which provides a fun and social enviornment for caregivers and those living with dementia. Please call our offices to learn more or visit our Programs Event Calendar.

If you know of someone that needs additional support, please connect them with us. We know that there is a lot of uncertainty as COVID-19 cases continue to rise and the holidays are upon us, and we can help! We can connect them to other community resources or spend time listening and helping them through it all. 

Public Policy

The Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) have made public policy a high priority for the organization.  In 2011, Congress passed the National Alzheimer’s Plan with the goal of finding a treatment or a cure for Alzheimer’s disease by 2025 and since then, Congress has increased funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institute of Health each year. Alzheimer's research funding for FY 2020 is now at $2.8 billion. 
 
The Alzheimer’s Association has also made public policy a priority in each state, working to ensure that every state has a state plan and implementation timeline. Throughout the pandemic, we are also working to ensure that those living in long term care settings are receiving the protections they need to stay safe. 

State Policy
The Alzheimer’s Association is in the process of finalizing the 2021 Legislative Priorities. With the pandemic still raging, the legislative activity will look different this year.  Our Day on the Hill will be switched to a Week on the Hill and will be mostly virtual as opposed to in-person.  Our Advocacy Week will be February 8th with a kick-off event on that Monday, various advocacy opportunities throughout the week and ending with a wrap-up event on Thursday, with advocates sharing their experiences. If you are interested in participating in the Week on the Hill, please contact Robyn Mills at romills@alz.org
 
 
Long Term Care Campaign
This campaign was developed at the national level in response to protecting those living with dementia in long term care facilities. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging policymakers to implement new policy solutions that will address the immediate and long term issues impacting care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • Testing - enhance testing in community settings (universal testing)
  • Reporting - implement necessary reporting
  • Surge Activation - develop protocols to respond to a rise in cases
  • Support - ensure all facilities have the necessary equipment (i.e. PPE) 
Iowa’s response thus far to COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities has been reactionary. Only those that have 3 or more confirmed cases are counted as being an outbreak. That being said, once there is an outbreak, the response is pretty strong, and Iowa’s detailed reporting of facilities affected and numbers infected is significant. Still, 47 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in Iowa are those living in long-term care.
 
We have been working with some community partners to get the Legislature and the Executive Branch to become proactive with long-term care facilities. As COVID-19 continues to storm through the state, access to testing supplies, adequate staffing levels and universal testing is essential to keeping those in long term care facilities safe.  We will continue to push those in power to prioritize those most vulnerable in our state. 
 
Advocacy
The Alzheimer’s Association values a strong and active Federal Advocacy Program. Each state policy team coordinates an Ambassador program that links a lead advocate with each Member of Congress in the state. With the start of the new fiscal year, we are updating our Ambassadors to ensure that they are willing and able to serve another year. If you are interested in becoming an ambassador, please fill out this volunteer form.

In addition to the Ambassador program, each Member of Congress has an Alzheimer’s Congressional Team (ACT), which assists the Ambassadors with developing relationships with their Members of Congress. Because of the pandemic, we are currently recruiting ACT members geographically in conjunction with their Congressional office. If you are interested in becoming an ACT member, please fill out this volunteer form. 

State Advocacy
This year, we will also be recruiting advocates to be State Champions for key Legislators across the state. These State Champions will establish a relationship with House and Senate Members in Leadership and key committee Chairs. If you know your House or Senate member and would like to become a State Champion, please email our Public Policy Director, Robyn Mills at romills@alz.org
 
Federal Policy 
A key federal priority for FY 2021 was for Congress to pass The Promoting Alzheimer's Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act (S. 3703/ H.R. 6813).  The bill unanimously passed both Houses of Congress this fall and became law.  The Act requires the Department of Justice to provide training materials on elder abuse to those individuals and organizations that serve the elderly.

Appropriations Campaign
Each year, the Alzheimer’s Association requests increases in research dollars to the National Institute of Health to fund research to meet the goals of the National Alzheimer’s plan.  The appropriations request for FY 2021 is:
  • Increase the commitment to Alzheimer’s and dementia research by including an additional $354 million for Alzheimer’s research activities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • Fund the Alzheimer’s public health infrastructure by including $20 million to implement the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. This bill passed last year allocating $100 million over 5 years to the effort.  However, last year, BOLD was only funded at $10 million. 

This request is for Federal Fiscal Year 2021, which started on October 1, 2020.  Congress passed a continuing resolution keeping government open until December 11, 2020, when the budget will need to be finalized.  One ombudsman bill is being drafted and the Senate version has incorporated the Association’s priorities of increased research funding of $354 million and $15 million for the BOLD Act. 

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