NEW YORK, May 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the need for education and resources about Alzheimer's disease and related dementias climbs at an unprecedented rate, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) and Senior Helpers are opening AFA affiliate offices within 11 Senior Helpers franchises from coast-to-coast to service the growing population affected by the brain disorder.
The AFA Care and Resource Education Services (C.A.R.E.S.) affiliate offices will open their doors beginning this summer, including seven that will kick off on June 1.
The collaboration between AFA, a leading national nonprofit organization, and Senior Helpers, one of the nation's largest in-home senior care companies, reflects the alarming crisis of Alzheimer's disease and heightened attention on the challenges of the disease, as evidenced by the government's release of the nation's first Alzheimer's plan in mid-May. Moreover, it marks an immediate response to the plan's call for greater awareness and education about the disease, delivery of care-related services to families, and public-private partnerships to accomplish objectives.
"It's clear that the Alzheimer's epidemic has generated needs that far outweigh the resources of any one group," said Eric J. Hall, AFA's president and CEO and a member of the government-appointed Advisory Council on Research, Care and Services that has been advising on the development of the historic national plan.
"This crisis demands immediate action," Hall said. "The Alzheimer's Foundation's expansion through affiliate offices adds another layer on the ground to directly respond to the mounting cries for support. We are combining our energy, our strengths, our voices in the hopes of impacting more people and changing lives."
Peter Ross, co-founder and CEO of Senior Helpers, a franchise company based in Timonium, MD, said the collaboration goes "hand-in-hand" with the company's niche in serving the dementia population.
"It is our corporate responsibility to assist local communities, and we applaud our franchisees for enthusiastically jumping on board," Ross said. "By providing direct care and direct access to AFA's resources, we can give families an enhanced level of support and essential tools to better navigate this heartbreaking disease."
The one-stop resource centers will feature trained community educators who will provide information and resource referrals; a library of books, DVDs and other educational materials about dementia, caregiving and successful aging; access to AFA's licensed social workers, as well as initiatives and services nationwide; and various programs and events to educate and engage the community.
For example, in addition to other services, Senior Helpers of the West Valley, Sun City, AZ, will be offering free, confidential memory screenings by appointment; and Senior Helpers of the San Francisco Bay Area, Concord, CA, will be displaying portions of the heartfelt AFA Quilt to Remember as part of a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its affiliate office on June 1.
Bob Tucker, owner of Senior Helpers in the Chicago area, said the establishment of the AFA C.A.R.E.S. affiliate "will enable community residents affected by dementia to more easily access information and support. With the powerful commitment to care by both AFA and Senior Helpers, our office will provide even more resources that can make a huge difference for families coping with this disease."
Complementing AFA's headquarters in New York, AFA C.A.R.E.S. affiliates will be opening in Boston; Chicago; Dallas-Fort Worth; Indianapolis; Kansas City, MO; Nashville; Phoenix; Tampa, FL; and the Orange County, San Francisco Bay and North Bay areas of California. To learn more about AFA C.A.R.E.S. affiliates, visit www.alzfdn.org or call 866-AFA-8484.
Currently, as many as 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, a progressive brain disorder that results in loss of memory and other intellectual functions. The prevalence is skyrocketing in line with the aging population; with advanced age the greatest known risk factor, the incidence doubles every five years after age 65. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national nonprofit organization that unites more than 1,600 independent member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals with dementia, their caregivers and families. Its services include counseling and referrals by licensed social workers via a toll-free hot line, e-mail, Skype and live chat; educational materials; a free quarterly magazine for caregivers; and professional training. For more information, call toll-free 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.
Senior Helpers connects professional caregivers with seniors who wish to live at home as opposed to a nursing or assisted living facility. The company has 300 franchises in 39 states and one in Canada offering a wide range of personal and companion care services to assist seniors living independently with a strong focus on quality of life for the client and peace of mind for their families. Senior Helpers strives to be the leading companion and personal care provider that offers dependable, consistent and affordable home care. For more information, visit www.seniorhelpers.com.
SOURCE Alzheimer's Foundation of America