One of the benefits of working for a non-profit is that I get to network with other non-profit professionals and gain exposure to some organizations with incredible missions. In this case, I know someone who does advocacy work for the Alzheimer’s Association, which was just listed as one of the Top 50 Non-Profits to Work for in 2010 by the Non-Profit Times.
Alzheimer’s in a disease that strikes a deep chord in me since both of my grandmothers suffered from it. There are few thins in life as torturous as watching a person you love slowly disappear into dementia and the kind of physical decline that Alzheimer’s brings on. I’ll never forget the heartbreak I felt when my father’s mother, who had been a professional actress for many years, looked at me after forgetting something and struggling to stay on topic in a conversation and said “I hate this. I used to make my living with my head!”
So, when I decided to highlight the Alzheimer’s Association in memory of my grandmothers, I went to my friend and asked him to tell me what program of the Association he thinks is the most impressive, this is what he told me:
“Most impressive program that we have is probably our call center. (I know, sexy, right?) But it’s true, it’s a 24/7 call services and support line that people can utilize to get more information about the disease, access to resources and the help they need.”
Then I asked him why he thinks people should support the work of the Alzheimer’s Association and he said this:
“(prepare to enter my spin zone)
1 in 8 people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s, it’s a disease that kills 100% of those that get it. With the sheer volume of baby boomers preparing to hit 65, there’s an impending tidal wave that is about to overtake our country if we don’t do something about it. People with Alzheimer’s on medicare cost from 30-300% more than someone without…the financial implications of not doing anything will be catastrophic if left unchecked.
In the last decade, while death rates from cancer to heart disease to diabetes to stroke all plummeted, Alzheimer’s deaths are up 46% and it’s only going to get worse.”
It’s as simple as that. Alzheimer’s is pervasive, incurable, and fatal. Please consider helping the Alzheimer’s Association provide support for families coping with Alzheimer’s and supporting research to find a cure someday.
Alzheimer’s is a crappy disease. As a caregiver myself, I can vouch that the Alzheimer’s Association call center is amazing! They are so helpful, and able to calmly figure out what you need help with when you have no idea how to help your loved one.