Alzheimer’s in Arizona

Brianne Spaeth

This week at SaddleBrooke Sunrise Rotary Morgan Hartford, Southern Arizona Regional Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest Chapter, came to discuss the prevalence and importance of studying Alzheimer’s in our area. He oversees a team that provides expert dementia resources throughout Southern Arizona and works one-on-one with families facing Alzheimer’s disease. The Southern Arizona Regional Office coordinates more than 25 different support groups across seven counties and implements unique programs for care partners and people with dementia.

Currently in 2018, there are 140,000 people in Arizona living with Alzheimer’s. After age 65, studies have found that 1:9 people have Alzheimer’s and half don’t know it. Medicare covers an annual physical and cognitive checkup, so it is important to take advantage of it yearly to help with an early diagnosis. Morgan gave us a short list of factors we can do every day to reduce our risk in developing Alzheimer’s.

1. Exercise at least 30 minutes three times a week

2. Diet low in saturated fats, including many leafy vegetables and bright fruits

3. Learn new things (ie: language or musical instrument)

4. Nurture social connections with others

Our group’s own member, Earlene Lewis, is currently helping with two of the above factors. She’s paving the way for Music Mends Minds (MMM), a form of music therapy for those with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. The group gets together twice a month at SaddleBrooke TWO Ballroom West to help entertain and socialize those through the joy of musical instruments and song. This helps with both ‘learning new things’ and ‘nurturing social connections’. Here are a few of the next MMM meetings: September 12, October 10, 31, November 7, 14, December 5, 19.

Please contact Earlene at [email protected] for more information.

For more information and referrals, contact the Alzheimer’s Association Helpline at 1-800-272-3900.

SaddleBrooke Sunrise Rotary Club is proud of all our members, who make contributions of time and money to assist those within our community and over the world. We meet every Thursday at noon at the MountainView Country Club. Please contact Ron Lenz, membership chair, at 262-358-0130. Come and check us out, join our club, become a Rotarian!