Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by progressive memory loss, worsening behavior problems and ultimately death. It afflicts almost 250,000 people in Ohio alone, and directly involves almost 600,000 family members and caretakers of those victims. The Ohio residents affected equal in number three-quarters of the population of Franklin County, including Columbus (http://bit.ly/hQQw2E).
Given the social, financial and health crises that a future epidemic might trigger, central Ohio is fortunate that its students are in the forefront of the fight against a disease that may claim the majority of people surviving to advanced old age (bit.ly/otYgwX).
The effort to defeat Alzheimer’s continues in our schools. For instance, as part of the crusade against the disease, the Delaware branch of the Alzheimer’s Association instructs qualified Ohio Wesleyan University students who volunteer to “become involved in educational programs, support groups and special events (http://bit.ly/aR35J8).”
And at The Ohio State University (OSU), the College of Medicine Memory Clinic trains graduate students to diagnose and treat the disease (http://bit.ly/r560zq). Also at OSU, The Office of Outreach and Engagement provides comprehensive support services for the community, and partners with the Alzheimer’s Association to diagnose dementia in patients with the disease (bit.ly/qj1kpY).
The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship stresses dynamic leadership in community service. Allison Gibson has been selected by the organization as one of 15 OSU students for its 2011 inaugural class. She is an OSU College of Social Work graduate student working in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association to expand support for those in the early stages of the disease, and those with Young Onset Alzheimer's (http://bit.ly/ruMOrB).
The AFA Teens organization provides a network of support for the children of victims of Young Onset Alzheimer’s. The disease often strikes younger adults who may have children at home and in school. AFA offers online support for the youths, and teaches them how to become community leaders in the crusade against Alzheimer’s. The organization awards an annual scholarship to college-bound students who submit winning autobiographies. Please go to http://bit.ly/8DGoKp to learn more.
To date, the AFA site lists no chapter in central Ohio (http://bit.ly/8DGoKp). Go to http://bit.ly/ntbO8r to indicate your interest in starting a chapter in your central Ohio school or community, or to request further information.