Alzheimer’s Volunteer Recognized for Outstanding Dedication

Joan Whitney, or commonly known as Hag by others, is a tremendous asset to the Alzheimer’s Association. Hag has dedicated many years to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s event in Galesburg. The 2016 event, on September 24 at Lake Storey Pavilion, will be her 26th Walk event.


Joan Whitney (right) and Alzheimer’s Association, Walk Manager, Andrea Koerber (left)

On April 27,2016 Hag was recognized by The Knox County Human Services Council for her dedication to making a difference in the lives of others. She is one of five agency volunteers to be recognized.

Hag is a passionate and caring individual that has always shown concern for advancing Alzheimer’s care and support in the community. Each year, she has served on the walk planning committee and helped secure sponsorship, recruit team members and plan the logistics of the event. Hag’s generosity extends beyond volunteerism, as she is also a Champion fundraiser for the cause.

The Alzheimer’s Association staff describe Hag as unstoppable because there is nothing she can’t and won’t do.

“No one is more deserving of this volunteer recognition than Hag. Her nurturing personality inspires others to give back and do more for their community. The Alzheimer’s Association greatly appreciates Hag and we want to thank her for all the work she has put into the Walk to End Alzheimer’s over the years,” says Andrea Koerber, Alzheimer’s Association Walk Manager.

Join us in thanking Hag for her dedication to her community and to the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Thank you, Hag!!

The Alzheimer’s Association counts on over 35,000 volunteers nationwide to fulfill our mission. If you are interested in volunteering, call the Peoria office at 309-681-1100.



Kentucky Derby Hats: A Southern Tradition

On Saturday, May 7, 2016, the Alzheimer’s Association, Central Illinois Chapter will celebrate the Kentucky Derby at our Champagne & Champions event. As we gear up for this one-of-a-kind event, we can’t help but get excited for the eye-catching Kentucky Derby attire.

The Kentucky Derby is commonly known as the time to let out your inner southern belle. From your dress to your shoes, every fashion decision has been meticulously planned in order to look as fabulous as possible. However, the most important aspect of your ensemble, without a doubt, is your hat.

Wearing a hat to the Kentucky Derby originated from the idea that wearing a hat would bring you good luck. This tradition has grown enormously; literally, these hats can be huge! Women in attendance pull out all the stops when it comes to their Derby hats. Men can also participate in this tradition by wearing a fedora or a bowler hat.

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Staff, Andrea Koerber (middle), and attendees Nyssa Midden (left) and Lauren Chrystal (right) sporting their hats at the 2015 Champagne & Champions Derby Party

There are absolutely no rules, your hat can be as neutral or extravagant as you would like. They have become a way to express yourself, as well as a way to show off your creativity. Typically derby hats are wide brimmed hats decorated with flowers, ribbons, feathers, or bows of any color. On the other hand, some hats come in shapes, sizes, and styles beyond the average imagination.

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The winner of the hat contest at the 2015 Champagne & Champions Kentucky Derby Party

Derby hats can be pricey; a great way to show off your style without breaking the bank is to make your Derby Hat yourself.  Check out this Kentucky Derby Hat Tutorial , featuring step-by-step instructions, to help you create your own!

Make sure to bring your best hat to the Alzheimer’s Association, Central Illinois Chapter’s Champagne & Champions Kentucky Derby Party on Saturday, May 7, 2016 to participate in our hat contest. Your hat could be the winner! To purchase tickets call our office at 309-681-1100. 

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Brett and Mandy Ellis & Megan and Adam Pulley in derby-attire at the 2015 Champagne & Champions Kentucky Derby Party

Love your Brain this Valentine’s Day

February without a doubt is the month of love. An entire day is even dedicated to celebrating our love of one another. This month, while your signing Valentine’s and sending hugs and kisses, we want you to show some love to that one Valentine you surely can’t live without: your brain. Your brain is the command center of your body and just like your heart, lungs and other critical organs, it deserves to be shown some love. Use these 10 tips to keep you brain healthy and happy and even help reduce your risk of cognitive decline!


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Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. Several studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline.


Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked.


Brain injury can raise your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Wear a seat belt, use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike, and take steps to prevent falls.


Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking.


Staying socially engaged may support brain health. Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. Find ways to be part of your local community – if you love animals, consider volunteering at a local shelter. If you enjoy singing, join a local choir or help at an afterschool program. Or, just share activities with friends and family.


Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online.


Evidence shows that risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke – obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes – negatively impact your cognitive health. Take care of your heart, and your brain just might follow.


Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Although research on diet and cognitive function is limited, certain diets, including Mediterranean and Mediterranean-DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), may contribute to risk reduction.


Some studies link a history of depression with increased risk of cognitive decline, so seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns. Also, try to manage stress.


Challenge and activate your mind. Build a piece of furniture. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Play games, such as bridge, that make you think strategically. Challenging your mind may have short and long-term benefits for your brain.



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Tips to navigate the holiday season

The holidays are a time of gathering. Friends, family and loves ones from all over join together to celebrate the season of joy and giving, but for families living withe Alzheimer’s disease, and other dementias, the holidays can be challenging.  We have a few tips to help keep your holiday celebrations joyful and memorable, despite the challenges.


Familiarize others with the situation
Lets guests know what to expect before the gathering. The holidays are full of emotions, so giving them advance notice of the condition of the persons with dementia will help the family be patient and understanding that the changes they see are caused by the disease, not the person.

Adjust expectations
The stress of caregiving layered with holiday bustle can be overwhelming, call a meeting with loved ones to discuss the plan for the holiday season. As a caregiver, be good to yourself. Only expect yourself to do what you can reasonably manage and do not be afraid to ask for help.

Involve the person with dementia
Finding ways best fit for your loved one with dementia to participate in the holiday season can help keep the spirit joyful. Try building on past traditions or memories that are meaningful to them. For example, singing old holiday songs or looking through old holiday photos. You can also involve your loved one in a few preparation tasks, like measuring an ingredient while baking or handing you decorations as you place them.

Adapt gift giving
Encourage your family member to give safe and useful gifts for the person with dementia. If family asks for gift ideas, encourage things that your loved one needs or can easily enjoy. For example, an identification bracelet, comfortable clothing, tapes of their favorite music or photo albums. If friends and family ask what you want, don’t be ashamed to ask for things that help you take care of yourself as a caregiver, like respite care or a cleaning service.

We hope that these tips can help you navigate the holiday season as your living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. For more detailed information click here and remember that help is available 24/7 on our helpline 800-272-3900.


Remembering those with Alzheimer’s

December marks the official holiday season and festive decorations are of abundance anywhere you look- most a display of red and green, glowing with holiday cheer. Walk into Country Floral in Polo,IL  and you will find anything but your average holiday decoration. Norma, the owner of Country Floral, gives a new purpose to Christmas trees each year.  Instead of decorating the tree with expected Christmas decor, the family owned and operated florist uses the tree to honor those who have passed or are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease.

This is the third year Norma has set up the Alzheimer’s tree. When asked why she puts up the tree every year, Norma stated she became concerned with Alzheimer’s disease when her neighbor came knocking on her door one New Year’s day  after wandering around the neighborhood in the snow with no coat. He felt ashamed because he was unsure of where he lived. She also now has many friends at church who are living with or have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Norma’s Alzheimer’s tree helps keep the memories of those with Alzheimer’s disease alive and helps raise awareness in the community of a disease that has taken so much, from so many.

The tree stands at 5 feet tall and is filled with ornaments- each one displaying a local individual’s name who has Alzheimer’s disease. In the middle of the tree lies two angels and a sign that reads “Remembering those with Alzheimer’s. In our prayers” to remind those affected by Alzheimer’s disease that they are not alone. Our annual limited-edition glass ornaments are also displayed.

We are very thankful for the support and efforts of Norma and County Floral. Norma continues to  support the Alzheimer’s Association Central Illinois Chapter by selling our 2015 Alzheimer’s Association Glass ornament in store. For a list of all location or to purchase one online click here.

10 Ways to Help a Family Living with Alzheimer’s

November is Nation Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness and National Family Caregiver Month. Being a caregiver or  having a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be extremely difficult. As the holiday season approaches, we want you to know that you have our support. Although this time of year is often filled with love and family, it can also add stress onto caregiver’s and families as their schedules become busier.

If you know a family who’s dealing with Alzheimer’s, we encourage you to extend some kind words or helping hand this holiday season. Here a ten tips to get you started:

  • Educate yourself about Alzheimer’s disease
    -Learn about its effects and how to respond.
  • Stay in touch
    -A card, a call or a visit means the world to a caregiver, and shows that you care.
  • Be patient
    -Adjusting to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is an ongoing process and each person reacts differently.
  • Offer a shoulder to lean on
    -The disease can create stress for the entire family. Simply offering your support and friendship is helpful.
  • Engage the person with dementia in conversation
    -It’s important to involve the person in conversation even when his or her ability to participate becomes more limited.
  • Offer to help the family with its to-do list
    -Prepare a meal, run an errand or provide a ride.
  • Engage family members in activities
    -Invite them to go on a walk or participate in other activities.
  • Offer family members a reprieve
    -Spend time with the person with dementia so family members can go out alone or visit with friends
  • Be flexible
    -Don’t get frustrated if your offer for support is not accepted immediately. The family may need time to assess its needs.
  • Get involved with the Alzheimer’s Association
    -Show your support by becoming an advocate or participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and The Longest day.

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends, love and thanks. Thank you all for supporting the Alzheimer’s Association! Hug your loved ones and caregiver’s (for any disease!!) extra tight this month!


We all have a reason to end Alzheimer’s

Everyone has a reason to end Alzheimer’s disease. Whether you suffer from Alzheimer’s, are a caregiver, have a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or just support the cause, we are fighting for the end of Alzheimer’s disease together.

We wanted to know what motivates you to fight this disease, so we asked over 200 Walk participants  in Central Illinois to tell us why they Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Check out the pictures below and know that you are not alone in this journey; we are in it together.

Thank you to everyone who participated!

Want to share more about your story and why you Walk to End Alzheimer’s? Contact our Communications Associate, Liz Gunty, at

Check out our Facebook to see additional pictures from each Walk.


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