Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. Psalm 1:1
Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) Galatians 1:1
Hi all! Happy 2021 to you all! 2020 is ancient history…let’s move on from it, shall we? 🙂
I am on vacation, but thought I might give you a quickie list of answers to the commonly asked question “The dementia thing is massive…what can I do???”
Here is a list, in semi-random order:
- Learn to understand. You DO NOT need to be an expert on dementia to empathize and help. However, learning and putting yourself in the shoes of someone…anyone…suffering can hyperdrive your momentum. I would recommend a couple resources here: first and foremost visit and become very familiar with Alz.org. There is a tremendous amount of great info there and there is very, very little that is questionable…unlike many other websites pushing for donations or product sales. I would also recommend Teepa Snow‘s resources on her site and on YouTube. There are other excellent resources online, but these two seem to be the safest in providing real help without asterisks needed.
- Go beyond the basics. Missouri State University (and many others) offer degree programs in gerontology and other specialties that position you where you can do the most possible for seniors and those with dementia.
- Become acquainted with your “local” Alzheimer’s Association. office. The offices tend to be regional, so you may get more from them by liking their Facebook and other social media sites and following events…but they are the lifeblood to finding ways to do more.
- Join or start a Walk to End Alzheimer’s team. These events are not only (by far) the biggest fundraisers each year for the cause, they are simply amazing. You will learn more from one of these events that you will ever imagine. Here is one little commercial for them… You don’t have to have a relative with the disease to learn and grow from these events. They are open/supported to/by all…and they are amazing. Here is my team’s link to join: Link
- Join the advocacy group AIM. The Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) is NON-Partisan! The cause is non-partisan and not politically charged. Everyone knows someone who has struggled with the disease, but advocacy events and opportunities give you the chance to keep the cause in the forefront of your mind and your legislator’s minds…and it is critical for funding.
- Get local. First, armed with zeal and knowledge, find folks to help (assuming you aren’t already doing so. Talk to your local Area Agency on Aging/senior center about volunteering. These centers do phone reassurance calls, serve/deliver meals, and do many, many more things for the community. Nursing homes sometimes have opportunities to volunteer (well, they used to before COVID-19…and they will again). Serve seniors in your church, civic organization, or similar. The need is there…trust me, you will find it. If not, comment to this article with your email and I will find you opportunities.
- Become an Ombudsman. In Missouri, ombudsmen are are volunteers who visit nursing homes on a regular basis and advocate for a specific group of folks who cannot advocate for themselves. I am studying right now to become one and will fill you in as I proceed in this.
- Join Trial Match. Trial Match is the Alzheimer’s Association portal for all things tied to clinical trials. It does a good job of pointing individuals to specific needs and there are many, many needs to be pointed to. Not everything is a spinal tap nor brain scan. There are surveys, questionnaires, and a 1000 other opportunities to help move the needle toward a cure in this group.
- –Give $. I know, I know…here he comes with a tin cup again. I am sorry, but money is needed in order to fund all of this mess to find a cure. Donate to the Alzheimer’s Association here. Have more funds to donate? Donate to your Agency on Aging. Here is mine. Consider a legacy/planned giving donation to carry on the legacy. 🙂
- Tag articles. Use Social Media? Add the hashtag #EndALZ and #EndAlzheimers to the end of posts you make that would advance the cause. It seems odd, but it condenses and spreads the word well to use them.
- Hit up the media to advocate. I was featured on radio, TV, or newspapers over 20 times in 2020…it was a busy year. I am terrible at it, but I am willing to do my best and TRY to be prepared. There is need in sharing stories, and the media has all sorts of opportunities if you are willing and able.
- Got a good ear? Learn how to start a support group. My support group is the 3rd Tuesday of every month and is on Zoom for now until the pandemic goes away…
- Share my blog. Digital Cornbread is my way of pointing people to resources and to help. I know some articles are odd…I get it. However, it is diverse enough that it has tentacles into more and more places…but it needs you sharing links. Please do. We have 8,000 friends now. I would love to have 800,000. I don’t make money from the work and any donation requests go to the association and local area agencies of aging…not to me and funding my fleet of private jets. PLEASE pass this on to friends, family, and anyone else you know that needs the info. Please feel free to share my email (email@example.com) or my cell (417-955-2513) and I will help however I can within my time constraints. (Oh, and if/when you see typos, please let me know. 🙂 I know I make up words…I am OK with those…but when I blatantly mess something up, please let me know. )
- Pray. Pray for patients. Pray for caregivers. Pray for doctors. Pray for researchers. Pray for treatments. Pray for a cure. Oh, and do this a bunch…and get others to do so too.
There are more ways…I am sure of it….probably a million more ways. It will take countless people doing something to lick this thing. We can do it. We truly can.
Thank you all for any and everything you do. 🙂 You matter to me. You matter to my mom. You matter to the Sweet 17. You matter to the millions suffering. Thank you. Now, 2020 is gone and a new year is here…let’s do this thing! 🙂
Update: Nothing new to report with mom. She has “recovered” from a major seizure less than 2 months ago and is in a holding pattern. I will be doing another video call soon. We are still waiting until the second batch of vaccines come through and until the guidance as to visits from vaccinated guests to vaccinated patients gets worked out before we move her from her current arrangements. We are hoping to get vaccinated and we know she is less than 2 weeks from vaccination dose one…so we hope light is at the end of the tunnel.
Sorry this piece was all practical and less educational on the disease itself…but we need these periodically. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend and a tremendous 2021!