Alzheimer's Association of Western & Central Washington Programs
24/7 HELPLINE - (800) 272-3900
Trained staff provide information and referral services, assist healthcare professionals with questions about dementia, and help callers navigate the long-term care system. This is the gateway to additional programs and services that our Chapter provides, without charge.
Connections is staffed by professional social workers who work directly with families to assess and evaluate care needs for the person with dementia. The social workers also work closely with family caregivers to help them understand and address their own needs. Dementia caregiving is especially stressful and family caregivers need help in accessing services to keep them healthy.
We offer a wide network of more than 100 support groups providing safe settings for family caregivers and friends to come together and share experiences, stories, strength, hope and advice. These are led by trained volunteer facilitators. There are also groups for people who have been newly diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. These groups provide a place for people to share their fears and frustrations, to engage in planning as appropriate, and to socialize with others in similar circumstances.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
We recognized a growing need for programs specific to individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. This has led to the development of 1) Early Stage Memory Loss support groups; 2) our 1st Annual Early Stage Memory Loss Forum; 3) creative alliances with other non-profits such as the Frye Art Museum in the development of here:now, their arts enrichment program for individuals with dementia and their care partners; and 4) creation of an Early Stage Memory Loss Advisory Council.
Engaging people in the early stages of memory loss does many things. Most importantly it amplifies the voice of persons in the early stages in articulating their needs, in addition to empowering families to work together in making key decisions about the present and future, and it helps to destigmatize the disease and encourages honest dialogue.
Lon C. is a perfect example of how early diagnosis and early engagement have made a huge impact on his life. A war vet and former law enforcement officer, working with the VA to address issues related to PTSD and depression, Lon was also diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s. Through involvement with an early stage memory loss support group, Lon found his voice and a willing audience through poetry, a gift he shares freely with others. Writing poetry about his Alzheimer’s experience has brought healing, and a way to share his joys and challenges with others. He’s also found an avenue for advocacy and educating others.