Tag Archives: alzheimer’s association

Latest Alzheimer’s report demands action

The Alzheimer’s Association released its 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, and the statistics are sobering. Almost 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S.

On the caregiving front, more than 16 million Americans are providing unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The value of their work is approximately $234 billion.

While the numbers are grim, the 2019 report makes crystal clear that we need bipartisan support at the federal level in addressing what is a health care crisis. Alzheimer’s disease is so costly, yet lags in research funds. Alzheimer’s caregivers need far greater support, both financially and in respite care.

Read the full report on the Alzheimer’s Association website.

alz assoc 2019 report

(Infographic courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Association)

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National Caregiver Month: Honor a caregiver

In addition to being National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, November is National Caregiver Month. It’s only fitting for those of us who have cared for a loved one with dementia that these two recognition events occur in the same month.

While caregiving, both family and professional, needs much more recognition than just a designated month, this is a good time to get the conversation started about how important caregiving is to our society.

My mom, who was a wonderful caregiver for my father who had Alzheimer's.

My mom, who was a wonderful caregiver for my father who had Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s Association is marking the month by allowing people to write a personal tribute on their website.

I’m marking the month by making a visit to my mother, who has been dealing with some recent health setbacks. Caregiving in action!

To all of you in the blogosphere who have shared your caregiving stories, thank you. Together we can raise awareness and help each other through this challenging journey that is always full of surprises.

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My story will appear in “Chicken Soup for the Soul Living with Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias”

I am very excited to announce that a story that I wrote about my father, called “French Toast,” will appear in a special edition of the popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. This edition features stories about living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and is a joint project with the Alzheimer’s Association. All royalties from this special edition will go directly to the Alzheimer’s Association. The book will be released on April 22, 2014.

CSS Living with Alzheimer's & Other Dementias

I am thrilled to be a part of this upcoming book, especially for a publisher as popular and well-respected as the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” folks. From thousands of submissions, 101 stories were chosen to appear in the book. I look forward to reading all of the inspirational stories.

If you’re wondering how I came about submitting my story, it was really just by chance. I was doing my daily “looking for paid writing gigs” web search and was on the Work-at-Home Moms website. Now I’m not a mom (unless you count the pets) but I find that their website sometimes posts opportunities I don’t see elsewhere. It was on their website that I saw the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” callout for Alzheimer’s and dementia stories. I said to myself, “Why not?” I submitted two stories: a depressing one and a funny one. The funny one was accepted. 🙂

One of the main goals I had in mind when starting The Memories Project blog was to raise awareness, not just for Alzheimer’s but for family caregivers as well. I’ve virtually met so many wonderful people through my modest but loyal following. The dialogue we have has educated and inspired me and lifted my spirits. Yet I know so many others are struggling silently and I hope by being able to get out the word on a larger platform, more people can get the support they need.

To prepare for the upcoming release of the book, I’ve added a couple of pages to my blog: media appearances and publishing credits. If you or someone you know would be interested in a copy of the book, an interview or a guest blog post, feel free to contact me directly at joyjohnston.writer@gmail.com.

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Walking for Dad on The Longest Day

This year I actually have the opportunity to participate in the Alzheimer’s Association campaign, The Longest Day. Since this is the day it stays light the longest, today is the perfect opportunity to shine a light on Alzheimer’s awareness from dawn to dusk. Last year I was at work so I couldn’t fully participate, but I had no excuses this year!

Walking the Beltline in Atlanta for Dad on The Longest Day 2013.

Walking the Beltline in Atlanta for Dad on The Longest Day 2013.


People do all sorts of things to honor their loved ones for The Longest Day campaign. People hike, run, swim, ride a bike, just anything to get out there and spread awareness. I chose to walk because Dad loved to take long walks and I do too! I decided to walk the Beltline, which is an exciting project here in Atlanta that is repurposing the long abandoned railroad tracks that still exist around the city and converting them into a walk/run/cycling trail that links up many intown neighborhoods. I was skeptical about the project at first I have to admit, but now that I have experienced one of the first phases of the project, I feel like it’s coming along nicely.

Piper the Beltline Kitty came out to greet me on my walk for Dad!

Piper the Beltline Kitty came out to greet me on my walk for Dad!

Today I walked the Eastside Trail from Piedmont Park in Midtown to Inman Park. Driving that route is almost a five mile trek. But thanks to the Beltline, you can walk there in half that distance. I made it to my destination in about an hour and am writing up this blog post at a neighborhood coffee shop. I’m going to keep spreading Alzheimer’s awareness throughout the day by staying active on social media and doing more walking!

I would love to hear how others are honoring their loved ones and spreading Alzheimer’s Awareness on The Longest Day. To follow the action on Twitter, use the hashtag #thelongestday.

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25 years of Alzheimer’s advocacy in America

The Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum will host its 25th national conference this year in Washington, D.C. from April 22-24. Check out this timeline of Alzheimer’s advocacy over the last quarter of a century. So many people have come together and broadened awareness of this terrible disease over the last 25 years. Certainly I know most advocates would hope we would be further along with treatment options or even, daresay, a cure, but awareness has grown greatly. Unfortunately, as Alzheimer’s cases have grown in numbers, the U.S. and the world have had to take notice and take action.

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I hope to get to attend this year. For those on a budget, registration fees are being waived in honor of the 25th anniversary. You can find out more about the event and the agenda details on the registration page.

Sometimes, caregivers and family members can feel so alone, so isolated in their family’s struggle with Alzheimer’s. Meeting others who share similar experiences can be a moving, yet rewarding experience.

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The personal side of the Alzheimer’s awareness movement

The Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum is taking place this week in Washington, D.C. For those attending and promoting Alzheimer’s awareness, a big thank you. Alzheimer’s is quickly becoming a national health crisis, and we must come together as a nation to address it.

For most of us, the battle against Alzheimer’s is very personal. For me, it’s the reason why I started The Memories Project. My dad was not a celebrity or a hometown hero. He was just an average guy.

But he was my father, and he did not deserve to suffer from Alzheimer’s. No one deserves to suffer from this terrible disease.

I can’t be in the nation’s capital to be a part of the forum, but if I had the opportunity to share a personal memory of how our family was touched by Alzheimer’s, I would share this snapshot in time, my last visit home when my father still lived there:

My dad was restless and paced the living room, while trying to get the zipper on his jacket to work. Suddenly, he turned around and looked straight at my mom, who was sitting on the couch next to me. He asked with a tone of distress, “Where’s Jane?”

My mom is Jane. My parents were married for 40 years.

My mom’s face crumpled internally, the words striking her skin as painfully as physical blows. She answered in an even tone, “I’m right here.”

There were many other painful memories that Alzheimer’s created for our family, but this one stands out starkly in my mind and makes my heart hurt. It was difficult to know who to have more sympathy for, my dad suffering from advanced memory loss or my mom forced to deal with the fact that her partner of 40 years could no longer remember who she was.

This is why I am an advocate for Alzheimer’s Awareness.

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