Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory and cognitive skills. This decline may be severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform activities of daily living, though the range of symptoms can vary greatly. At least two of the following areas of impairment must be present in order for a diagnosis of dementia to be considered: learning and memory, communication, language, focusing and paying attention, reasoning ability, judgment, social cognition, and visual perception. For example, a loved one might notice their family member struggling to articulate or find the right words; difficulty completing ordinary tasks such as balancing a checkbook or playing a game with many rules; difficulty following story lines; or struggling to adapt to change. While there is no one specific test to diagnose different types of dementias, it is important to consult with a doctor to determine symptomology. Generally, doctors utilize medical history, physical examinations, laboratory tests, family/caretaker reports, and observable changes in thinking and behavior. While individuals may be predisposed to dementia, there are certain risk factors and preventative measures one can take to manage symptoms and slow disease progression. Those include but not limited to maintaining a healthy diet and regular physical exercise, practicing good cardiovascular care (e.g., refraining from smoking, maintaining a healthy cholesterol level), and trying new and challenging activities such as learning an instrument, picking up knitting, or brain teasers.

Resource Organizations » Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia » Chelmsford

In Massachusetts

Organizations with hotlines

Alzheimer's Association, Massachusetts/ New Hampshire

24-hour Helpline: 800-272-3900

Massachusetts Chapter Office Number: 617-868-6718

New Hampshire Chapter Office Number: 603-606-6590

The Alzheimer's Association's mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. It is the largest private investor in innovative research related to Alzheimer's and related disorders. The Alzheimer's Association has a highly regarded scientific program. The Massachusetts/ New Hampshire chapter has published an online guide to participating in research trials. This is also available in hard copy by calling the Helpline. In addition, the Alzheimer's Association in Massachusetts/ New Hampshire has five offices: Watertown, Raynham, Springfield and Worcester, MA and Bedford, NH.

 

Organizations without hotlines

Elder Community Care

508-573-7250

"Elder Community Care is a network of agencies working together to serve elders in their own homes. The organization provides comprehensive assessment and counseling services to elders and their families in Metrowest. It also provides comprehensive assessment, counseling and referral services." 

Springwell, Inc.

617-926-4100

Email: inforef@springwell.com

Springwell is a private, non-profit agency that has been creating, managing, and coordinating services for seniors, individuals with disabilities and those who help care for them for more than 30 years. Along the way, the organization has amassed a wealth of knowledge and insight about the many public and private resources available. It serves all elders, individuals with disabilities and their families regardless of financial situation or level of need. It's reputation for excellence is why more than 10,000 families turn to it each year for support.

Outside Massachusetts

Alzheimer's Association

312-335-8700

Email: info@alz.org

The Alzheimer's Association's mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research and to enhance quality care and support for individuals, their families and care partners.

Find your local community: http://www.alz.org/apps/findus.asp

Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center (ADEAR)

800-438-4380

Email: adear@nia.nih.gov

As a public, U.S. Government-funded resource, the ADEAR Center strives to be a current, comprehensive, unbiased source of information about Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.

Alzheimer's Foundation of America

866-232-8484 (Toll-Free Helpline)

1-646-638-1542

This site includes information about Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, care giving strategies and behavioral issues, as well as daily news about Alzheimer's disease, and links to AFA member organizations and AFA divisions. It also maintains a nationwide toll-free hotline (866.AFA.8484). AFA's hotline provides information, counseling by licensed social workers and referrals to resources across the nation, including community organizations that offer hands-on support services.

Dementia Friendly America

Email: info@dfamerica.org

Through the work of over 35 national, leading organizations, the Dementia Friendly America initiative is catalyzing a movement to more effectively support and serve those across America who are living with dementia and their family and friend care partners.

Department of Health & Human Services

This is a free informational website provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The site includes information on Alzheimer’s disease, possible treatment options, caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, and insurance and payment information on the cost of treatment and care.

Family Caregiver Alliance

(800) 445-8106

Family Caregiver Alliance is first and foremost a public voice for caregivers. Founded in the late 1970s, they were the first community-based nonprofit organization in the country to address the needs of families and friends providing long-term care for loved ones at home. Their services, education programs, and publications are developed with caregivers’ expressed needs in mind, to offer real support, essential information, and tools to manage the complex and demanding tasks of caregiving.

Geriatric Mental Health Foundation

(703) 556-9222

Email: web@GMHFonline.org

The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation was established by the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry to raise awareness of psychiatric and mental health disorders affecting the elderly, eliminate the stigma of mental illness and treatment, promote healthy aging strategies, and increase access to quality mental health care for the elderly. Explore the site for mental health information for older adults and their families, to find a geriatric psychiatrist, for news of Foundation programs and events, and much more.

Latino Alzheimer's & Memory Disorders Alliance

(708) 395-5472

Email: info@latinoalzheimersalliance.org

The Latino Alzheimer's & Memory Disorders Alliance empowers Hispanic and Latino caregivers and families of those afflicted with Alzheimer's disease and memory disorders by providing education, skill building training and support programs.  It also provides training programs to healthcare providers who work with the Hispanic and Latino communities.