FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | October 3, 2012
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America to Unveil Patriotic Quilt Urging Further Action on National Alzheimer’s Plan
AFA Quilt to Remember Display Coincides With Dementia Conference in D.C. Area
NEW YORK, NY—Ever since the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) began assembling its large-scale AFA Quilt to Remember a few years ago, each heartfelt panel has been uniquely telling the life story of an individual affected by Alzheimer’s disease. There’s the Maryland sports enthusiast whose photos and handprint adorn a quilt, and the Texas native whose colorful food-stained aprons atop her panel illustrate her love of cooking, for example.
Now, the national nonprofit organization will be adding a red-white-and-blue “advocacy” quilt that boldly speaks for all Americans, including those who may be affected by the devastating disease in the future. It will be appropriately unveiled in the D.C. area on October 4.
The quilt’s front-and-center inscription, “NAPA Now,” calls on the public to urge policymakers to fund and fully implement the historic National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, which was released by federal officials in May as part of the bipartisan National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA). The quilt also kicks off AFA’s participation in a new Stop Alzheimer’s Petition drive being undertaken with like-minded organizations .
On October 4, AFA’s president and CEO, Eric J. Hall, will lay out the new 8 feet by 8 feet quilt as the centerpiece of a 45-panel display of the AFA Quilt to Remember from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the National 4H Conference Center, 7100 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase, MD. The display is free and open to the public.
The AFA Quilt to Remember is the nation’s first large-scale quilt that pays tribute to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, their caregivers and healthcare professionals. The NAPA Now quilt marks the 150 th panel in the collection, which is composed of four feet and eight feet square blocks contributed by individuals and organizations across the nation and several foreign countries. When the panels are laid out side-by-side, the quilt’s length exceeds that of four Olympic-size swimming pools.
The exhibition is part of a national educational tour, “Understanding Dementia Care,” co-sponsored by AFA and Senior Helpers, one of the nation’s leading in-home care agencies, and featuring dementia care expert Teepa Snow. Also on October 4, at the same venue, there will be a free workshop for family caregivers from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; earlier that day, from 8 a.m. to noon, healthcare professionals can attend a workshop that offers continuing educational credits for a nominal fee. To register for the conferences, visit www.teepasnowtour.com.
“When a disease like Alzheimer’s disease impacts the masses, the masses must rally together and cry out for action,” said Hall, a member of the public-private panel that has been advising on the national plan. “Our NAPA Now quilt sends the simple but strong message that the time to act is now before this public health crisis destroys more and more American families.”
Amplifying its efforts, AFA is now advancing the petition drive as part of its overall NAPA Now campaign to ensure that “the movement on the national plan purposefully and aggressively moves forward with all necessary resources and commitment,” Hall said.
AFA’s petition tells the White House and Congress that “eradicating Alzheimer’s disease has to be a priority and that support for education, training and long-term care services is necessary until we discover a treatment to prevent, reverse or cure this brain disorder.”
The petition campaign is a collaborative effort of organizations composing Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s Disease (LEAD), a coalition co-facilitated by AFA and USAgainstAlzheimer’s. To sign the petition, visit http://goo.gl/WM3tK.
Since AFA first displayed its AFA Quilt to Remember in 2006, it has been using it as a powerful vehicle to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and educate the public.
At the educational conferences on October 4, area residents will be presenting AFA with two more panels for the collection.
Wendy Johnson, owner of Senior Helpers of Silver Spring, MD, has crafted a delicate quilt honoring her grandmother, LaVonne Mock, who is living with Alzheimer’s disease. She meticulously chose mementoes that reflect her 88-year-old grandma as “the consummate lady” and Johnson’s own fond memories of her in the garden, at Christmas and in her women’s clothing shop.
In addition, the Arden Courts Memory Care Community, an assisted living residence for people with dementia in Silver Spring, will present a quilt that features a tree thriving with photos of the facility’s 51 residents amidst colorful fall leaves. Programming staff engaged residents in the arts project, using it as a conversation starter about the seasons and encouraging them to place the felt and silk leaves on the panel.
“We chose ‘Life Blooms at Arden Courts’ [as our theme] because at any part of the disease process there is the opportunity for quality of life,” said Toni Benton, Arden Courts’ executive director.
The AFA Quilt to Remember is an ongoing initiative, which continues to grow in size and periodically tours the country, including displays during many stops of the “Understanding Dementia Tour” with Teepa Snow. For more information, visit www.alzquilt.org.
Currently, an estimated 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. The incidence is expected to explode in coming years as baby boomers turn 65, the age when the risk for the brain disorder begins to accelerate. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national nonprofit organization that unites more than 1,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include counseling and referrals by licensed social workers via a toll-free helpline, e-mail, Skype, and live chat; educational materials; a free quarterly magazine for caregivers; and professional training. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-232-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.
Contact: Carol Steinberg