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Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's Disease: Where to Turn for Help

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Are you caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease? Or perhaps you are watching a loved one who seems to be developing symptoms, and you wonder what the future holds?

HBO Documentary Films recently produced a 4-part film series entitled The Alzheimer’s Project (you can stream the videos from the link). I borrowed all the films and spent an evening watching them at home, wanting to immerse myself totally in the experience.

Wow.

Rather than leaving me sad or depressed, the films filled me with a greater appreciation for those who are touched by this disease, and something of an understanding of how they get through its phases--with humor, warmth, and love. The overview of cutting-edge research being done on Alzheimer’s gives us good reasons for hope, and practical advice that may curb our own likelihood of developing it. The producer of the series, John Hoffman, states in The Huffington Post that through the experience of making the series he lost his own fear of developing the disease, which had killed his own father ten years ago.

To participate in HBO’s mission of getting people talking about the disease—sharing information with each other about their experiences as well as hearing from scientists working in the area—the Library is partnering with the NYC chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to host screenings of three of the films followed by moderated discussions. The kickoff will be Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 3:00 P.M. when the Caregivers segment will be screened, followed by a discussion led by Della Frazier-Rios, R.N., M.S., Senior Vice President and Director of Education & Outreach of the NYC Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

The following two screenings will be parts 1 and 2 of Momentum in Science, which provide a state-of-the-science report and take viewers inside the laboratories and clinics of 24 leading scientists and physicians working in the area of Alzheimer’s Disease research and practice. We are honored that the series producer John Hoffman, Vice President, HBO Documentary agreed to lead the discussion for part 1 which will be screened Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 3 P.M. He will be joined by Matt Kudish, M.S.W., Director of Helpline and Care Consultation for the Alzheimer’s Association’s NYC chapter.

The last screening, Momentum in Science, Part 2, will be followed by a discussion led by the esteemed Scott A. Small, M.D., Columbia University, whose work is profiled in the film. He will be joined by Stephanie Aragon, Coordinator, 24-hour Helpline, Alzheimer’s Association’s NYC chapter.

No-one should have to go through this experience alone. The Alzheimer’s Association provides an amazing range of support services for those with Alzheimer’s and caregivers, and the speakers the local chapter is presenting for each of the screenings will field questions you may have about where to turn for help in New York City.

I hope you can join the conversation with us—as John Hoffman said in his blog post referenced above, the more he learns, the less frightening Alzheimer’s becomes...

All screenings will be held at the South Court Auditorium of the landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

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