The Alzheimer’s Association counts on volunteers to help fulfill our mission. Thank you for all that you do!

Research on volunteering in late life suggests that it may serve as a protective factor for cognitive health, particularly with dementia risk. Both volunteering and certain types of paid employment offer cognitive benefits, but volunteering appears to provide a higher level of cognitive protection compared to some types of paid work.

The emotionally and mentally rewarding aspects of volunteering, such as meaningful engagement and a sense of purpose, contribute to its cognitive benefits. Volunteering facilitates social connections and goal-setting, which are important for maintaining cognitive health in older adults.

In contrast, not all paid jobs offer the same cognitive advantages. Jobs that involve interacting with people or providing service tend to be more beneficial for cognitive health, while jobs involving physical labor may not offer the same level of cognitive stimulation.

Research suggests that women may derive greater cognitive benefits from both working and volunteering compared to men. The gender gap in Alzheimer’s prevalence, with women being more affected than men, is a complex phenomenon that requires further exploration beyond factors like longevity.

Are you passionate about making a difference? Join us in the critical battle against Alzheimer’s and all other forms of dementia during National Volunteer Week!

“The Alzheimer’s Association is leading the charge as the foremost voluntary health organization dedicated to eradicating Alzheimer’s. With a powerful vision of a world without this devastating disease, we tirelessly pursue our mission to accelerate global research, promote risk reduction and early detection, and provide unparalleled care and support.”

The Chapter provides opportunities for individuals, groups, and businesses. We match volunteers’ interests and skills with positions around the state. In some cases, volunteers can assist from the comfort of their homes.

Why Volunteer with Us?

Impactful Mission: At the heart of our mission lies a commitment to care and support for all those affected by dementia, both nationally and locally. Join us in providing invaluable resources, guidance, and assistance to individuals and families navigating the challenges of Alzheimer’s and related conditions.

Leading Research: We are the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research, investing in groundbreaking studies to unlock the mysteries of the disease. Your involvement can contribute to innovative treatments, preventive measures, and, ultimately, a cure.

Advocacy: Our impact extends beyond research and support. As staunch advocates, we champion critical Alzheimer’s initiatives at both the state and federal levels. By amplifying the voices of those affected and advocating for policy changes, we work to ensure that Alzheimer’s remains a top priority on the public health agenda.

Ready to Join Us?

To learn more about each of our volunteer opportunities go to https://www.alzs.org/illinois. We look forward to speaking with you soon. Sign up now and be a vital part of our mission to combat dementia and create a world without Alzheimer’s!

13 year old Walk team captain and volunteer raised $50,000 to help end Alzheimer’s

How I’ve volunteered: 

My name is Emma Sametz and I’m an undergraduate student at UW-Madison, hoping to become a Physician Assistant. My mom is a Gerontologist that specializes in Alzheimer’s disease, so ever since I was a little girl I grew up going with her to the memory care facilities as well as annually attending the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. My great grandmother Fay also had Alzheimer’s disease, so I witnessed very early on the effects of the disease and how hard it was for my mom to see her grandmother slipping away. Once I turned 13 years old, I knew I wanted to start getting involved myself and helping out in whatever way that I could. I started volunteering at memory care facilities; I played piano weekly for the residents and saw how much it brightened their day, which was such an amazing experience. I also started my first very own team for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. At just thirteen, I managed to raise nearly $50,000 that year in hopes of finding a cure and was one of the Top 5 fundraising teams in Illinois. Every year since I’ve been 13 years old (I’m now 20), I’ve had my own team for the Walk. 

Now that I’m in college and pursuing a career in medicine I got certified as a Nursing Assistant and Patient Care Technician. With those certifications, I got a caregiving job where I take care of a client with advanced Alzheimer’s disease who is now non-verbal. I am so proud to have been able to work with and advocate on her behalf over these past two years; it’s really been such a wonderful experience. 

In addition to working directly with Alzheimer’s patients, I wanted to continue working with the Alzheimer’s Association and helping out wherever I could. I became part of the Alzheimer’s Congressional Team in Madison where I partake in advocacy to raise the awareness of and support for the Alzheimer’s Association’s public policy goals. I also reached out to Jennifer Keeney in the hopes of helping out with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s wherever help is needed. She’s helped me get involved with community outreach in terms of reaching out to Champions to congratulate them as well as getting local schools and companies involved in volunteering with the Walk!

Why should others raise funds and awareness about Alzheimer’s?

I really believe that raising awareness is just as important as raising funds because it fosters an understanding, empathy, and a sense of community among those affected by the disease, their families, and the broader society. It most importantly encourages open conversations, which will work to create a supportive environment where individuals feel more comfortable seeking information. I also think that by discussing Alzheimer’s disease more openly, we can educate others, promote more empathy, and even begin to encourage more proactive measures such as early detection, which is so important. 

I also want people to recognize the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and the fact that 6.9 million Americans (65+) are living with it in 2024. I think once people recognize the true magnitude of this statistic, they, too, will be compelled to join the fight to find a cure. 

What do you want others to understand about Alzheimer’s disease / dementia who may not have experienced it first-hand? 

I want others to understand that behind each person with Alzheimer’s disease lies a lifetime of memories, experiences, and emotions that deserve to be honored and respected. From caregiving, I learned that it’s about meeting them where they are, embracing them with compassion, and cherishing the moments of joy and connection, regardless of how fleeting they may be.

Alzheimer’s Association volunteer Phyllis Timpo shares the importance of bridging communities during National Volunteer Appreciation Week – April 21 -27

As the Director of Community Engagement at the Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Research (HAARC) Center, I have the privilege of being part of an important collaboration with the Illinois chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Our collaboration is built on shared goals: to share information and increase resources related to Alzheimer’s and other dementias within the Chicago’s Black community. Volunteering with the Association fills me with pride as we work together to address the needs of those impacted by this disease.

In my role, I often meet people who have just received a diagnosis or are looking for ways to support brain health. Through our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, I can connect communities to the wealth of resources and support the organization provides. Whether it’s educational materials or support groups, our collaboration ensures that people in need can access crucial assistance.

A big part of my work is helping people participate in research. Even though African Americans are more likely to be affected by Alzheimer’s, they’re often not well represented in research studies. It’s important to fix this gap to make sure future treatments reflect the diversity of those affected. Connecting communities to research opportunities is incredibly rewarding; it ensures that our communities have a say in shaping the future of Alzheimer’s treatment and care.

One exciting event that shows our dedication to raising awareness and engaging the community is the upcoming Release the Silence: RACE into Action conference. Working with the Alzheimer’s Association, we aim to create a space for conversations, learning, and fun! This conference will offer attendees valuable resources, educational sessions, and chances to take part in research initiatives. Events like this highlight the importance of our partnership and the positive impact it has on our community.

As a volunteer with the Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, I feel honored to contribute to this important work. Together, we work to empower individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s and advocate for more inclusivity in research. We invite you to join us in our mission and hope to see you at the conference on Saturday April 27th! Register here: https://www.alzheimers-illinois.org/education/Release-the-Silence-Conference-2024/

To find out more about how you can get involved in shaping the future of Alzheimer’s research and support, visit the HAARC Center website at https://haarc.center.uchicago.edu Together, we can make a real difference in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias.

Empowering families facing Alzheimer’s by navigating critical legal decisions

Story contributed by: Kerry Peck, Managing Partner of Peck Ritchey, LLC and Legal Education Partner for Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter.

The Attorneys of Peck Ritchey, LLC are often asked to teach lawyers and give speeches in the community regarding the law affecting older adults.  Regrettably, Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive illness in which the patient will ultimately suffer cognitive impairment destroying that person’s capability to make decisions and/or execute documents.  Thus, time is of the essence in addressing critical issues such as:  who will make health care decisions when your relative lacks the mental capacity to make decisions; and who will manage your relative’s assets as the Alzheimer’s Disease strips away mental capacity?

The law in Illinois provides for the creation of two types of Powers of Attorney which can assist in planning for a family member or loved with diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. 

 A Power of Attorney is a document naming someone else to make decisions for your loved one who has Alzheimer’s Disease when they are incapable of making decisions for themselves. The two types of Powers of Attorney are: 1. The Power of Attorney for Health Care, which authorizes medical decisions, and 2. The Power of Attorney for Property to manage the Alzheimer’s stricken person’s assets.  Both Powers of Attorney require that, while mentally competent, the person with Alzheimer’s Disease choose his or her Agent to make decisions for them relating to their medical care and/or asset management. 

Unfortunately, often times the person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease no longer has the mental capacity to sign the documents because the disease has progressed too far.  If that is the situation, then in Illinois, the law would require the filing of a Guardianship case in Court. The case requires a doctor’s report concluding that your relative is either totally or partially incapable of making medical and/or asset management decisions. It is imperative that if your relative has a recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease that you and your loved one act before the cognitive impairment is very significant, and the only recourse is a Guardianship Court proceeding.  

Kerry Peck, Managing Partner of Peck Ritchey, LLC serves as Chair of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Elder Law and previously as President of the Chicago Bar Association.  Mr. Peck is Co-Author of Alzheimer’s and the Law and Don’t Let Dementia Steal Everything, books which he wrote at the request of the American Bar Association.  Kerry Peck served on the Association’s Board for many years and the Law Firm was honored last year by the Alzheimer’s Association. Peck Ritchey LLC is a one-stop shop for families navigating the devastating effects of a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Peck Ritchey, LLC offers a no-cost initial consultation by phone, zoom, or in person to assess how we can help you and your family.  Peck Ritchey, LLC has offices in Chicago, Northbrook, Oak Brook, and Lake Forest.  We can be reached by phone at 312-201-0900.  We look forward to serving your Elder Law, Trust, and Estate Needs throughout Illinois.

Honoring Alzheimer’s volunteers during National Volunteer Week – April 21 – 27

(Shared by Victoria Mullally)

Loretta is a shining example of resilience and generosity, defying the challenges of Alzheimer’s with grace and determination. Despite the changes brought about by her diagnosis, she continues to embrace life with open arms, finding joy in simple pleasures and giving back to her community in meaningful ways.

Independence Grove becomes a sanctuary for Loretta during the warmer months, where she relishes in the beauty of nature during her leisurely strolls. She reminisces about cherished memories of her father while enjoying ice cream, a tradition that brings warmth to her heart. Her granddaughter’s choir performances and musical events at Carmel Catholic High School add melody to her life, creating moments of connection and pride.

Volunteering has become a cornerstone of Loretta’s life, providing her with purpose and fulfillment. Whether it’s writing thank you cards for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Lake County, packing food at Feed My Starving Children, knitting hats for those in need, she pours her energy into helping others. Despite her challenges, she has donated an impressive 200 hats in the past three years, a testament to her unwavering dedication.

Through her journey, Loretta emphasizes the importance of family, friendship, and finding moments of joy amidst adversity. She encourages caregivers to support their loved ones in discovering activities that bring them happiness and a sense of accomplishment. For Loretta, knitting on a loom has become both a creative outlet and a therapeutic practice, allowing her to focus on the present moment and connect with others through her generosity.

In the face of Alzheimer’s, Loretta’s spirit remains unbroken, inspiring others to embrace each day with gratitude and kindness.

Across the nation, the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is full of flowers, each carried by someone committed to ending this disease. Because like flowers, our participants don’t stop when something’s in their way. They keep raising funds and awareness for a breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.

Click here to register today and be the first to know about Walk in your area.

Race, Ethnicity and Dementia Caregiving

In the intricate tapestry of caregiving, where love intertwines with sacrifice, disparities carve their presence into the fabric of each caregiver’s journey. It’s only in recent times that the spotlight of population-based studies has shifted to illuminate the stark racial contrasts within the realm of dementia caregiving, shedding light on the burdens and obstacles faced by Black and Hispanic caregivers.

Amidst these revelations lies a sobering truth: nearly half of Black and Hispanic individuals grappling with dementia seek refuge in the care of their adult children, a striking comparison to the one-quarter of White individuals who do the same.

Yet, the burdens endured are far from alleviated. Black caregivers, steadfast in their commitment, often find themselves bearing heavier loads. They dedicate upwards of 40 hours per week to caregiving, a testament to their resilience in the face of adversity. Their role extends beyond mere companionship; they become essential pillars, providing aid with the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), assuming roles of nurturer, confidant, and protector.

However, alongside the emotional and physical strains of caregiving, a different burden persists – the weight of financial hardship. Particularly, Black male dementia caregivers find themselves disproportionately impacted, standing 3.3 times more likely to grapple with economic challenges than their counterparts.

Despite the undeniable necessity for respite, Black caregivers are noticeably less inclined to seek such reprieve, underscoring the enduring gap in accessibility to support services. The journey of caregiving, laden with emotional and physical tolls, exacts its toll on mental well-being, with discrimination looming as a dark cloud over the welfare of African American caregivers.

Yet, amidst the trials, glimmers of resilience and fortitude emerge. Black caregivers, more prone than their White counterparts, discover solace in the affirmative aspects of caregiving, fostering bonds that transcend the constraints of illness. Research even suggests they experience marginally higher levels of psychological well-being, a testament to the potency of love amidst adversity.

However, the path to caregiving is fraught with hazards. Hispanic, Black, and Asian American caregivers find themselves grappling with heightened care demands, diminished external support, and elevated rates of depression, underscoring the pressing need for culturally attuned support systems.

In the mosaic of caregiving, the ties that bind are often woven from the threads of familial and social support. For Black caregivers, the presence of robust support networks serves as a beacon of hope amid the darkest hours.

Yet, amidst the challenges, there exists a glimmer of hope. Through resilience, solidarity, and unwavering love, caregivers of every shade navigate the labyrinth of dementia, their narratives a testament to the indomitable spirit of humanity in confronting adversity.

Volunteer Committees, Past 2021–2023 Champions, Current Champions “Cheers to Champions Alzheimer’s Research Event”

Date: Thursday, April 25 

Time: 12:00 – 1:00 PM 

Location: Local Chapter Office or Virtually

RSVP by April 12: https://alz-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PvonParnRcecZJfJDggDEg

This event promises to be an inspiring gathering where we celebrate our champions like yourself and delve into the latest advancements in Alzheimer’s research. Your commitment to our cause is instrumental as we continue our journey towards finding a cure.

During the event, you can look forward to:

  • Updates on recent breakthroughs and discoveries.
  • Networking opportunities with fellow champions who share your passion for making a difference.
  • Insights into how your ongoing support directly contributes to our research efforts.

Your presence at this event will not only enrich the experience but also strengthen our collective resolve in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Kindly RSVP by April 12 to confirm your attendance at this special event. If you have any questions or need further information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at (your local staff partner). 

Thank you for your unwavering dedication and support. Together, let’s raise our glasses to the champions leading the charge against Alzheimer’s disease.

Warm regards,

Alzheimer’s Association leading the fight against Alzheimer’s and all other dementias

The Alzheimer’s Association stands at the forefront of the battle against Alzheimer’s and all other forms of dementia, working towards a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementias. With a robust vision and mission, the Association focuses on care and support, groundbreaking research, impactful advocacy, and community engagement.

On both national and local levels, the Alzheimer’s Association provides comprehensive care and support services for individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The association offers a range of services, including a 24/7 Helpline staffed by experts, support groups, educational programs, and online resources. 

The Association plays a vital role in educating the public, healthcare professionals, and policymakers about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Programs cover various topics, including diagnosis, caregiving, and the importance of early detection. Through awareness campaigns and publications like the recent Alzheimer’s Association 2024 Facts and Figures report, the Association strives to dispel myths and promote understanding of the diseases.

As the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research, the Association is committed to accelerating scientific progress toward effective treatments and ultimately a cure. Making investments in a wide range of research initiatives, funding scientific investigations globally, and convening researchers at conferences like the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC).

The Association serves as a leading voice for Alzheimer’s disease advocacy, advocating for increased funding for research and support initiatives at both the state and federal levels. Through partnerships and grassroots efforts, they ensure that Alzheimer’s remains a national priority, influencing key legislation like the National Alzheimer’s Project Act.

Recognizing the importance of diversity in addressing health disparities, the Association is committed to engaging underrepresented communities and providing resources to address the disproportionate impact of Alzheimer’s and dementia. They strive for health equity, ensuring that all communities have access to early diagnosis and quality care.

The Alzheimer’s Association encourages individuals to join the fight against Alzheimer’s by volunteering, advocating for policy change, participating in fundraising events like Walk to End Alzheimer’s and The Longest Day (TLD), and donating to support research and care programs. The Alzheimer’s Association offers numerous opportunities for individuals to get involved and make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by dementia.

About the Alzheimer’s Association® The Alzheimer’s Association is available with information and support for families as they navigate the disease and related research. For more information, visit alz.org/illinois or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.

Daylight Saving Time Presents Unique Challenges for Individuals with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

As we approach the biannual transition to Daylight Saving Time (DST), Alzheimer’s Association is shedding light on the impact of this time change on individuals living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. This pressing issue requires attention and understanding from communities, caregivers, and healthcare professionals to ensure the well-being of those affected.

Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 10, as we set our clocks ahead one hour. This seemingly simple time adjustment can disrupt the daily routines and internal clocks of those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Individuals living with Alzheimer’s and dementia often rely on structured daily routines to minimize confusion and anxiety. The disruption caused by DST can lead to various challenges, including:

Increased Sundowning: The shift in daylight hours can intensify the symptoms of “sundowning,” a phenomenon where individuals with dementia become more agitated, confused, and anxious during the late afternoon and early evening.

Sleep Disturbances: Changes in daylight hours can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to sleep disturbances and increased nighttime wandering, which can be unsafe for dementia patients.

Difficulty Adapting: Individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia may have difficulty understanding the concept of time change, leading to further confusion and disorientation.

Stress on Caregivers: Caregivers often bear the brunt of these changes, having to adapt to the shifting schedules and increased caregiving challenges.

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends the following strategies to help ease the transition for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia:

Gradual Adjustment: Begin shifting daily routines in the days leading up to Daylight Saving Time to help individuals adapt more smoothly.

Maintain Consistency: Keep meal times, medication schedules, and bedtime routines as consistent as possible.

Increase Natural Light Exposure: Encourage individuals to spend time outdoors during daylight hours to help regulate their circadian rhythms.

Communicate Clearly: Inform individuals about the time change in simple terms and be patient when answering questions.

Seek Support: Caregivers and family members can reach out to local support groups, healthcare providers, and organizations like Alzheimer’s Association for guidance and resources.

The Alzheimer’s Association remains committed to raising awareness about the unique challenges faced by individuals living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, especially during the Daylight Saving Time transitions. Our mission is to provide support, resources, and education to families and caregivers who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for their loved ones.

To learn more about the impact of Daylight Saving Time on individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia, or to access resources and support, please visit alz.org.

Honoring Women’s Contributions To Alzheimer’s During Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the contributions and achievements of women throughout history. It’s also a moment to acknowledge the unique impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias on women, both as individuals living with the condition and as caregivers.

Research indicates that Alzheimer’s disproportionately affects women, with nearly two-thirds of Americans living with the disease being female. This gender disparity extends beyond prevalence rates; women are also more likely to serve as primary caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer’s. They often face complex challenges, balancing caregiving responsibilities with other aspects of their lives, including work, family, and personal well-being.

Several factors contribute to the increased risk of Alzheimer’s in women, including hormonal changes associated with menopause, genetic predispositions, and differences in brain structure and function. Additionally, societal factors such as caregiving roles, socioeconomic status, and access to healthcare may further impact women’s vulnerability to the disease.

Women caregivers may experience higher levels of depression and impaired health than their male counterparts. Evidence suggests these differences arise because female caregivers tend to spend more time caregiving, to take on more caregiving tasks, and to care for someone with greater cognitive, functional and/or behavior problems.

During Women’s History Month, it’s essential to recognize the resilience, strength, and contributions of women affected by Alzheimer’s. By raising awareness, supporting research initiatives, and advocating for better resources and support services, we can empower women to navigate the challenges of Alzheimer’s with dignity and compassion. Together, let’s work towards a future where all individuals, regardless of gender, have access to quality care, support, and treatments for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Illinois Women Conquer ALZ (IWCA) seeks to engage and empower more women in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease by raising awareness and taking action through fundraising events, education and advocacy initiatives.

Recognizing that Alzheimer’s disproportionately impacts women, IWCA was founded in 2017 by the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter to raise awareness and connect with more women. All activities align with and support the mission and strategic plan of the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter. To join Illinois Women Conquer Alz click here https://ilalzwomen.org

As we commemorate Women’s History Month and Alzheimer’s Awareness in March, let us not only celebrate the achievements of women but also commit ourselves to the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Together, we can honor the past, empower the present, and shape a better future for generations to come.