Grappling with the devastation of a life-altering health issue can be a daunting task for anyone, especially when it comes to the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s disease. There is no denying that Alzheimer’s takes a hard toll on countless individuals and their families, particularly if those involved have no prior experience with its implications. But help is available for those afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease and those going through this journey with them.
The Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter believes no individual or family should navigate the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease alone. They are hosting Community Forums throughout the chapter service area to better understand the needs of both patients and support persons living with the disease.
“We serve thousands of Hoosiers every year, but we know there is more we can do,” said Laura Forbes, Communications Director for Alzheimer’s Association of the Greater Indiana area, “We want to hear directly from the community about what their needs are.”
Forbes says these forums are a proven public health strategy frequently used by other Alzheimer’s Association chapters to grow their reach and provide families with an opportunity to ask questions, feedback, share stories, and learn about available resources. These include programs and services to help families manage the challenges faced after diagnosis such as caregiver support groups, one-on-one consultations, and early stage programs.
“Ultimately, our goal is to serve more people affected by this disease in the Valparaiso area and across the state,” Forbes said. It is estimated that more than 2,600 people live with Alzheimer’s disease and another 8,000 are caregivers in Porter County alone.
“Alzheimer’s disease takes an enormous toll on each of those individuals and families,” Forbes said. “We want to make sure they know they aren’t alone. There are resources available for care planning, financial resources, and emotional support—that’s what we want to emphasize during these forums.”
The Alzheimer’s Association also seeks to create volunteer opportunities for community members who want to make a positive difference for those facing the disease.
“We couldn’t do this work without our dedicated volunteers from across the state,” Forbes said. “There are a variety of opportunities available for those who want to get involved in the fight against Alzheimer’s, including advocating for public policy changes, planning events, facilitating support groups, and providing community outreach and education.”
The Valparaiso Community Forum will take place from 5-7:30 p.m., Feb. 28 at the Campbell Street Café 4245 Meridian Woods Drive, Valparaiso. Attendees are invited to ask questions about the disease, share their personal experiences, learn about available resources, and discover volunteer opportunities. To register for the forum, visit https://alz.org/indiana/helping_you/community-forum.