ALZ Media Insider is an exclusive email for news media to assist with story ideas, resources, statistics and spokespersons related to the United States' 6th leading cause of death.

Headlines in this issue:

Sandra Day O'Connor Announcement Shines Light on Disclosing Alzheimer's Diagnosis

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's recent announcement that she was retiring from public life due to dementia and probably Alzheimer's, highlights a challenging issue facing millions of Americans following an Alzheimer's diagnosis — when and how to share it with others.

"Disclosing an Alzheimer's diagnosis is a personal decision and can take a lot of different forms," says Beth Kallmyer, Vice President, Care and Support, Alzheimer's Association. "Some individuals may want to be fully transparent with everyone around them, others may choose to be more measured and share their diagnosis only with close family and friends. There is no one way or right way. However, sharing your diagnosis can be a powerful way to educate those around you about the disease and to engage their support."

The Alzheimer's Association offers tips on its website to help recently diagnosed individuals think through the process, including advice from individuals living with Alzheimer's who have lived the experience. Key considerations addressed, include:

  • Why tell
  • Deciding who to tell
  • How to share your diagnosis
  • Responses to diagnosis

With millions of Americans struggling with this very personal and difficult decision, there is an important story for media to report.

Tips for sharing your Alzheimer's diagnosis

  • Go slowly
  • Acknowledge reactions and feelings will evolve
  • Provide educational brochures about the disease
  • Let the person know that you are still you
  • Let people provide assistance

  • Expert Interview: Beth Kallmyer, VP, Care and Support, Alzheimer's Association
  • Early-stage individuals living with the disease who can share their experiences.

Multi-media Materials Highlight Holiday Tips for Families Affected by Alzheimer's

While holidays are a joyous time for many families, they can be challenging for families affected by Alzheimer's.

"The hustle and bustle that accompanies the holidays can be stressful for people living with Alzheimer's," said Monica Moreno, Senior Director, Care and Support, Alzheimer's Association. "Changes in the daily routine, large gatherings and noisy environments — all holiday hallmarks — can create extra anxiety for someone living with Alzheimer's and other dementias."

To help families affected by Alzheimer's navigate holiday challenges, the Alzheimer's Association is offering these simple tips:

  • Prepare Your Guests
  • Build on traditions and memories
  • Involve the person living with Alzheimer's
  • Plan ahead

To assist media in covering this important story, the Alzheimer's Association is providing a multi-media page with digital assets highlighting the changes one family affected by Alzheimer's is making this holiday season.

These media assets include additional soundbites and b-roll, allowing news outlets to customize packages for local markets. In addition, local Alzheimer's Association offices have experts available for interviews.

  • Expert Interview: Monica Moreno, Senior Director, Care and Support, Alzheimer's Association

Healthy Brain Initiative Offers Public Health Strategies to Address Dementia

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alzheimer's Association recently released the third edition of the Healthy Brain Initiative (HBI) Road Map. The Road Map provides public health officials with a set of strategies to realize a better future for all communities impacted by dementia.

As the number of people with Alzheimer's grows — and grows quickly — a robust public health response is needed to mitigate the future impacts of dementia. The updated (HBI) Road Map offers public health leaders a menu of 25 actions to promote brain health, improve care for people living with cognitive impairment, and better support caregivers. The full guide provides suggestions for implementation, case studies, and data to justify plans.

"To achieve meaningful progress against Alzheimer's disease, we must recognize and address it as a public health crisis." said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association Chief Public Policy Officer. "The HBI Road Map provides the public health community with concrete steps to act quickly and strategically take action to address this growing public health crisis."

Today, more than 5 million people are living with Alzheimer's and 16 million more are providing unpaid care for someone with the disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association® 2018 Alzheimer's Disease Facts & Figures. And, as these numbers are expected to rise as our nation ages, more than ever, public health has a critical role to play in changing the course of dementia.

Media interested in learning more about 25 ways that state and local public health agencies and their partners can pursue goals of the Healthy Brain Initiative can view the action agenda here.

Expert Interviews:
  • Robert Egge, Chief Public Policy Officer, Alzheimer's Association
  • Molly French, Director Public Health, Alzheimer's Association

Media Contact
Mike Lynch
Media phone line: 312-335-4078