Alzheimer's Aid Society's
The Alzheimer's Aid Society exist to provide support, education and compassion to patients and caregivers throughout this journey of Alzheimer's Disease, to support medical research, and to promote public awareness.
916-483-2002, Sacramento CA
The History of Alzheimer's Aid Society
The The Alzheimer's Aid Society was founded in 1981. At that time very little was known about the disease as it had not yet become the "household word" it is today. The Society began as a single support group for caregivers in a Sacramento living room. The Society existed at that time to provide support and education for the caregiver. Today the Society provides more than forty support group meetings throughout Northern California every month.
The first Caregiver Conference was held at American River College in the early 80's, and a partnership with Gerontology Program at ARC continues to this day. Annual conferences are now held in boh Sacramento and Modesto. Mini Seminars are offered in many of our outlying counties.
Beginning in the mid 80's, The Alzheimer's Aid Society began providing training to professional caregivers, medical personnel, law enforcement, and first responders. This paved the way in our communities for better understanding and fair treatment of persons with dementia.
As the 90's arrived, advancements in diagnostics and public awareness made it possible for patients to be diagnosed much earlier in the course of the disease. The Alzheimer's Aid Society expanded its mission to include patient support. Today patient groups meet every week in Sacramento and Modesto. In 2011 Brain Exercise and Reminiscence groups, called "Forget Me Not Club" were addeded and they meet in an adjacent classroom. The facilitators of the patient groups are also available to meet one-on-one with patients to answer questions and assist with their issues and concerns.
Much has changed today as far as our understanding of the disease. There are now medications which can be helpful in improving or delaying the symptoms. There are programs and classes for the patient and the caregiver.
What has not changed is the devasting challenge patients and caregivers face with Alzheimer's Disease. It is a journey of level paths, perilous twists and turns, and ever-changing climates. The Alzheimer's Aid Society continues to focus on education and support to assist those on this journey to navigate the unfamiliar and, hopefully, to find some meaning and joy along the way.
What is Alzheimer's?
Alzheimer's Disease was first discoveredin 1906 by a German doctor named Alois Alzheimer. It is a disorder of the brain, causng damage to brain tissue over a period of time. Alzheimer's accounts for more than half of all organically caused memory loss, and it is the fourth leading cause of death in the aged, following heart disease, cancer, and stroke. At present, there is no known cause or cure. The disease can linger from two to twenty-five years before death results.
Alzheimer's causes a global loss of intellectual abilities, which is severe enough to interfere with daily functioning. Initial symptoms are subtle. The person may show signs of personality change, memory loss, poor judgement, have less initiative, be unable to learn new things, have mood swings or become easily agitated. Gradually, as thedisease progresses, the victim develps speech and language problems, movement and coordination difficulties, total confusion and disorientation, and will ultimately rely competely on a caregiver for daily functioning.
Although in the early stages of Alzheimer's, the victim may appear completely healthy, the damage is slowly destroying the brain cells. This hidden process damages the brain in several ways:
- Patches of brain cells degenerate (neuritic plaques).
- Nerve endings that transmit messages within the brain become tangled (neurofibrillary tangles).
- There is a reduction in acetylcholine, an important brain chemical.
- Spaces in the brain (ventricles) become larger and filled with a granular fluid.
- The size and shape of the brain alters. The cortex appears to shrink and decay.
Understandably, as the brain continues to degenerate, there is a comparable loss in mental functioning. Since the brain controls all of our bodily functions, an Alzheimer victim in the later stages will have difficulty walking, talking, swallwing, controlling bladder and bowel fuctions. They become quite frail and prone to infections such as pnemonia.
To complicate matters further, there are numerous conditions which mimic Alzheimer's disease. Conditions such as stroke, vascular diseases, toxins, nutritional deficiencies, infections, etc., can all have symptoms that mimic Alzheimer's. For this very reason, it is most important that a thorough examination be done in order to rule ut any treatable condition.
1st and 3rd Friday, Noon-1:30pm
Aubrun Presbyterian Church, 13025 Bel Air Drive
Facilitator: Sue Galvez, 530-878-2428
4th Wed., 10:00am
Senior Center, 229 New York Ranch Rd., Jackson
Facilitator: Laurie Webb, 800-540-3340
1st Wed., 7:00-8:30pm
Aegis of Carmichael, 4050 Walnut Avenue
Facilitator: Cynda Rennie, 916-723-4444
3rd Wed., 6:30-7:30pm
Emeritus at Folsom, 780 Harrington Way
Facilitator: Darlene Moeaki, 916-983-9300
Facilitator: Caroline Denny, 707-263-9481
1st Monday, 2:00pm; 4th Thursday, 6:00pm
Emeritus as Austin Gardens, 2150 W. Kettleman
Facilitators: Jenanne & Stacey, 209-333-8033