The executive director of the Greater Iowa Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Carol Sipfle, says the holidays are time when you might see the signs of the disease in your relatives.
“Many times you haven’t seen mom or dad or grandma and grandpa in several months, and when you are together there are surprises. There might be some unusual behaviors or some unexpected memory loss,” Sipfle says. “The Alzheimer’s Association works to make sure that people are aware of what’s normal and what’s not normal. And when to take action when the symptoms are not normal.”
Sipfle says you can find help anywhere in the state. There are two chapters in Iowa and nine offices altogether as she says they believe in a local influence in helping people. Sipfle says they try to make it easy for you to get information.
“Call our toll-free number that’s 1-800-272-3900, or visit our website. That will get people to the right resources — some of it instantaneous at their fingertips — and if that is not adequate than the phone call will connect them to a real person who they can talk do and describe their situation and get some additional help,” according to Sipfle.
They have some more things planned in the new year. She says they will be offering classes in January and February across the state called “Know the 10 signs.” Sipfle says they help teach you about the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease and what you do.
The association also has a variety of support groups available. “Those are for caregivers, those are for people with Alzheimer’s disease. We have conferences, we can provide information and referral to other agencies that might be able help people — so it’s really a myriad of different services. There’s no one size fits all, and we try to customize it to the individual families,” Sipfle says.
Go to the chapter’s website at: www.alz.org/greateriowa for more information.