Assemblyman Andy Goodell (R,C – Chautauqua County) is teaming up with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) to promote a pair of events taking place in November, National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. The first event is an inspirational candle lighting ceremony at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown on November 13 to remember individuals and their families who have been affected by the brain disorder. The second program will offer free, confidential memory screenings and information about successful aging on November 15 at the Kmart in Jamestown.
“Many of us know someone who has or has been affected by Alzheimer’s,” said Goodell. “People diagnosed with this serious disease and their caregivers need our support and encouragement. I hope that the community will attend the vigil at St. Luke’s to show their support for this cause and then take the knowledge and strength they gain with them to get their free screening on November 15,” said Goodell.
The vigil is part of the 9th annual National Commemorative Candle Lighting sponsored by the AFA. The ceremony will be held November 13 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 410 North Main Street, Jamestown beginning at 4:00 p.m. In addition to the candle lighting, participants will have the opportunity to read names of individuals who had or have Alzheimer’s disease. For more information, call St. Luke’s at 716-483-6405, or visit their Web site.
Hundreds of other organizations across the country will similarly light “candles of care” on November 13 and throughout the month. AFA also invites the public to light virtual candles and record the names of loved ones in the Book of Remembrance on AFA’s National Commemorative Candle Lighting Web site. Father Eric Williams of St. Luke’s will lead the service.
“As a pastor, I recognize the tremendous impact that Alzheimer’s and other diseases that cause dementia are having on so many families,” said Fr. Williams. “The strain on those afflicted and on their families and loved ones, and particularly their care givers, is really taking a toll, physically, emotionally and spiritually. This service has personal meaning for me as I pray for my mother who is herself afflicted, and for my father who is her loving companion and caregiver.”
Eric J. Hall, AFA’s president and chief executive officer, said the event has gained ground each year since AFA introduced it in 2003.
“The disease takes an enormous emotional toll on families, so events like this that let them know they are surrounded by love and care are extremely meaningful,” said Hall.
Kmart Pharmacy will provide the memory screenings at Kmart Pharmacy’s Health and Wellness in-store event at 975 Fairmount Avenue, W.E., in Jamestown on Tuesday, November 15, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. For more information, call the Kmart Pharmacy at 716-488-0640, or the store’s main line at 716-488-0755.
“Community memory screenings are a vital resource to begin a dialogue with a health care professional and to learn more about brain health. They prompt critical next steps,” said Hall.
Qualified health care professionals administer the screenings, which consist of a series of questions and tasks, and take five to ten minutes. Screening results are not a diagnosis, and individuals with below-normal scores, or who have concerns, are encouraged to pursue a full medical exam. Event sponsors include Forest Laboratories and Senior Helpers as silver sponsors, with Accera Inc., Eli Lilly and Company, and Novartis as remembrance sponsors. For more information about National Memory Screening Day, visit their Web site or call 866-AFA-8484.
Alzheimer’s disease, which results in loss of memory and other intellectual functions, is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It affects as many as 5.1 million Americans and its incidence is escalating in line with a growing older population, including baby boomers who began turning 65 this year. Advanced age is the biggest known risk factor for the brain disorder.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national nonprofit organization that unites more than 1,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include counseling and referrals by licensed social workers via a toll-free hotline, e-mail, Skype and live chat; educational materials; a free quarterly magazine for caregivers; and professional training. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-AFA-8484, or visit their Web site.