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In the news archive 2009






December 23, 2009

Local Alzheimer's organization splits from national group

David Wahlberg, Wisconsin State Journal - The South Central Wisconsin Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association has split from the national organization so it can spend more money locally and support a new research center at UW-Madison, officials said Tuesday.

The Madison-based chapter, which separated from the national Alzheimer's Association last week, has been renamed the Alzheimer's & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, said Paul Rusk, executive director.

A new policy by the national organization requires chapters to turn over 40 percent of the money they raise locally, Rusk said. That's up from 15 percent and would have required the Madison chapter to lay off two or three people, he said.

"We really want to channel our dollars here in Wisconsin," Rusk said. "That is extremely important to our donors."

The renamed Alliance wants to support the university's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, created in May with a $6.9 million federal grant, said Carol Koby, board president.

Scott Gardner, vice president of chapter relations for the national Alzheimer's Association, said chapters approved the new funding formula at a national meeting. The money collected nationally helps support chapters, he said.

"This is the way all voluntary health agencies share their money," Gardner said.

The national organization will soon open another office in Madison, as a chapter or as part of chapters in Green Bay and Milwaukee, he said.

Rusk said the Alliance has the same staff, board and mission as the chapter did. "We want to assure everybody it's the same organization," he said.

Press release on our disaffiliation 12.23.09

Fact sheet on disaffiliation

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December 23, 2009

Area Chapter leaves Alzheimer's Association

Channel 3000, WISC-TV - The South Central Wisconsin Chapter is leaving the national Alzheimer's Association.

The group changed its name to the Alzheimer's & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin.

The Alzheimer's & Dementia Alliance will focus on similar efforts at a local level, WISC-TV reported.

Executive Director Paul Rusk said the change allows the group to keep 40 percent of its donations in Wisconsin.

"From a staff perspective if frees up our time a little bit because we don't have to comply with somebody else's rules so much. And we're looking forward to that," Rusk said.

The Alliance has a new toll-free help line at 888-308-6251 and a new web site at

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September 30, 2009

Support and hope for those whose loved ones have Alzheimer's disease

Play NBC15 video (.wmv)

John Stofflet, NBC15 - The stories are all too familiar to those gathered around the table at the Alzheimer's Association office in Madison: "She's totally wheelchair-bound, legally blind, very helpless at this point"... "Every day I visit, she seems to be in a different phase...a different stage"..."It's to the point now where we figure it would be dangerous for her to drive the car."

Once a month, they are brought together by a disease that tears lives apart. Members of the Men's Support Group, whose partners have Alzheimer's Disease, gather at the Alzheimer's Association office to hear the latest about research and services...but mostly, they gather to share. Hal Blotner volunteers to lead the sessions. He says, "It does offer support, and it's good to hear that other people are having the same problems that you are. We learn from each other."

Blotner not only runs the meetings, he benefits from them as well. His wife, Sue, now lives in a Dementia care unit. Speaking with emotion in his voice while holding a picture of the two of them together, Blotner says, "She's had a very active life, and she volunteered in so many things. Now it's time for us to sort of reward her for what she's done." Those who attend have partners who are in various stages of Alzheimer's Disease: "I'm in the process of having my wife kind of go into Alzheimer's, and I'm kind of lost. I don't know where to go, what to do, or who to see"..."She went into an absolute panic, people around us tried to help us even get her into the car. She struck one woman twice, and it was totally a whole new phase, which just astounded me." Some, like Marcus Marx, have just lost their spouse. Fighting through tears while talking about his late wife Doris he said, "Two months ago she died..and I saw a nice plaque that says when you lose someone you've loved, it's a memory. It says, 'Treasure the memory'...and that's all I can say." About the support group, Marx added, "It's a very beneficial, knowledgeable group, and it has helped me a lot." Patting Marx on the shoulder, Howie Steinmann said, "It's a long road if you're out there all by yourself. You can use all the moral support you can get, and these people do that for me."

Blotner agrees that hiding one's feelings is the worst thing a person whose loved one has Alzheimer's Disease can do. "It doesn't make sense to be in denial-- that's number one. It does help to talk to other people who are having similar problems. " The support group is just one of many programs the Alzheimer's Association of South Central Wisconsin offers. If you'd like more information about it or other programs, click here. If you'd like to help the Alzheimer's Association carry out its mission of care, support, and research, you can participate in or contribute to this Saturday's Memory Walk at Warner Park in Madison. You can also donate to "Team Blotner", Hal Blotner's Memory Walk team. Team Blotner, by the way, was the largest individual Memory Walk fund raising team in the state last year, raising nearly $9,000 dollars

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September 23, 2009
Alzheimer's disease research center opens in Madison

Jeff Angileri, WKOW-TV - The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine now houses one of the premier research labs for Alzheimer's Disease. It is a debilitating disease, affecting 160,000 families in Wisconsin. Alzheimer's patients suffer memory loss, poor judgment, and language problems -- making treatment difficult.

"The person with the disease has trouble communicating, so we don't know what to do to help them," said Paul Rusk, executive director of the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Association. And the number of cases is spiking -- 115 million people worldwide by the year 2050...

Full article PDF "... Research center opens..."

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September 10, 2009

Association hopes for another successful year

Brian Gray, Monroe Times - Walkers will take part in the annual Memory Walk Saturday to help raise money for Alzheimer’s research and support programs. The walk begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Behring Senior center in Monroe. for the Green County Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk, scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the Behring Senior C 1113 10th St. About 140 people took part in the Memory Walk last year, raising about $22,000...

Full article PDF "Association hopes..."

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September 8, 2009

Adult day care plan under discussion: Seniors would have a place to socialize

Brian D. Bridgeford, Baraboo News Republic - One or more adult day care programs in the area would give seniors being cared for at home a place to socialize and receive services while giving their family caretakers a needed respite, say people hoping to launch such services.

Tuesday afternoon, adult day care advocates Mary Larson of Lake Delton and Baraboo resident Priscilla Fitzgerald invited other interested people to the community room of Baraboo’s United Church of Christ to spark discussion on the issue. Responding to the call were Carol Olson, Portage-based area representative of the Alzheimer’s Association, Trish Vandre, director of the Sauk County Aging and Disability Resource Center and Kathy Boettcher, director of the Our House assisted living senior residence in Baraboo...

Full article PDF "Adult day care plan..."

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ArtistsSeptember 1, 2009

Artists with Alzheimer’s give back to Memory Walk

Kevin Kirkpatrick, Daily Register - Columbia County residents with memory loss are giving back to the annual event that raises awareness and funds for Alzheimer's care, support and research programs. Nearly 20 residents, from Columbia Health Care Center in Wyocena, Divine Savior Extended Care in Portage and American Way Senior Living in Portage, recently volunteered to work with Wisconsin artist Linda Goehre to create individual artwork representing the "forget-me-not" theme of the Alzheimer's Association. Several of these works were chosen by Goehre to construct a collage that will be featured at this year's Columbia County Memory Walk...

Full article PDF "Artists with Alzheimer's..."

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Summer campAugust 15, 2009

Camp helps kids cope with Alzheimer's

Gayle Worland, Wisconsin State Journal - When the kids at camp started burying one of their own in the sand at his request, Mary Kay Baum turned it into a teachable moment. “In what way is this like Alzheimer’s,” she asked, as the children patted down Mason Capps’ arms and legs while he lay grinning in a heap of sand. “It’s hard to move for some people with Alzheimer’s,” answered one. “And some people move a whole lot with Alzheimer’s — and wander,” Baum continued. “And I’ll add to that. Some of us have a hard time getting started to do something because we feel like we’re stuck,” she said.

Along with the typical summer-camp fare — from canoeing and rockclimbing to arts and crafts — the 14 kids at the weeklong “Time for Us” camp near Elkhorn in July came to learn about coping with memory-loss diseases such as Alzheimer’s, a condition that has touched their lives by striking a parent, grandparent or family friend...

Full article PDF "Camp helps kids cope..."

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April 19, 2009

Outstanding caregiver award winners announced

Winners of the Outstanding Caregiver Awards will be presented at an awards ceremony to be held at the 23rd Annual State Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease, May 3-5, 2009. Seven different awards will be presented to individuals and organizations in Wisconsin recognizing significant contributions in caregiving and advocacy. Winners were chosen from 30 nominations made by individuals and organizations from throughout the state. Winners are selected based on their outstanding contributions as caregivers to those with Alzheimer’s disease in Wisconsin. The 2009 winners include:

Outstanding Caregiver Awards are coordinated by the Alzheimer’s Association Wisconsin Chapter Network as part of their annual statewide conference held each May. The state conference highlights innovative approaches to Alzheimer’s care, examines critical research initiatives and facilitates the sharing of ideas among dedicated professionals and family members. For more information, go to or call the conference planning office at 715.344.2929.

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January 5, 2009

Lawmaker wants new alerts for wandering elders

Kristen Durst, Wisconsin Public Radio (STATEWIDE) - A Wisconsin state senator plans to introduce legislation to bring Silver Alerts to the state. Wisconsin could join twelve other states that now use the emergency alert system to notify the public when seniors go astray. A Silver Alert expands on the Amber Alert System to include those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s who often get confused and wander off. Rob Gundermann of the South Central Wisconsin Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association says it’s welcome legislation that could save lives. "Anyone who's been outside this morning understands what Wisconsin weather is like in the middle of winter,” he says. “Now imagine being out there in nothing but a light sweater, how long would you survive? And if you think if you're in your 70s or 80s and you have Alzheimer’s disease and you've wandered out of a facility and all you've taken is your sweater."

During an Amber Alert, the Emergency Alert System cuts into radio and TV programming to broadcast information about an abducted child. That info is also displayed on electronic highway signs. State Senator Mary Lazich of New Berlin wants to employ that same technology to help find missing elderly. "The Silver Alert can be just as successful for our senior citizens and I think that the sooner we get it in place the greater security our seniors will have and the greater security family members will experience knowing that we have that safety net." Lazich intends to introduce the Silver Alert bill within the next few weeks. She says Silver Alerts wouldn't increase costs because they use the Amber Alert system which is already in place.

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