Alzheimer’s disease is the of dementia, and currently it affects more than 5 million adults in the United States alone. that the disease will affect some 13.8 million Americans by 2050. A progressive disease, Alzheimer’s worsens over time, resulting in severe memory loss, loss of thinking skills, and inability to do daily activities.
The causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not fully understood, but they’re a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.
Here are a few of the top charities tackling Alzheimer’s disease. These organizations fund research, raise awareness, educate, and provide comfort to those living with and caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease.
The Alzheimer’s Association mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s through research, care, and promoting brain health. Alzheimer’s Association services have reached millions of Americans since its founding in 1980 as a collaboration between support group representatives and the National Institute on Aging. Program costs account for approximately , with another 15 percent going to fundraising.
The annual autumnal , held in over 600 cities across the country, is the “world’s largest event” in supporting Alzheimer’s research and services. In 2015, walk participants raised more than . The Alzheimer’s Association additionally offers support through online resources, message boards, in-person support groups, and safety services like .
Alzheimer’s Family Services Center
At the time of its founding in 1980, the Alzheimer’s Family Services Center (AFSC) was the first care program for people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in Orange County, California. After providing 35 years of services, AFSC remains the only day care facility dedicated to Alzheimer’s and dementia care in Orange County. The center’s is to improve quality of life for those affected by Alzheimer’s through memory care services and resources for caregivers. Approximately 86 percent of all donations directly support their programs, such as services for individuals with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
Founded by a consortium of organizations, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) now has more than member organizations across the country. Its mission is to leverage this network to provide care and services to individuals facing Alzheimer’s as well as their caregivers and families.
At the core of AFA’s programming are social services. The AFA maintains a staffed by licensed social workers, phone-based support groups for caregivers and family members, and monthly webinars like . Last year, the AFA launched the , which provides free memory screenings, resources, and educational materials. In 2015, went to programming.
Cure Alzheimer’s Fund
Also known as the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Foundation, the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund was founded in 2004 by three families in an effort to accelerate research on curing Alzheimer’s. Since then, the fund has raised and contributed 100 percent of $45 million to research. It seems fitting then that Charity Navigator gave Cure Alzheimer’s Fund a rating in 2016. The fund had previously received four-star ratings from the watchdog.
The research interests of the fund are rather transparent, and funded research projects are on the organization’s website.
Dementia Society of America
The Dementia Society of America (DSA) raises awareness of and provides education on many types of dementia and related diseases, including Alzheimer’s. This past spring, the DSA held the , a 44-day “stepathon” to raise awareness of all types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s. In 2015, steppers achieved a combined steps.
Additionally, the DSA uses donations to underwrite the program, which provides grants to enhance the quality of life of those living with dementia and their caregivers by bringing music, dance, art, and other sensory events to care communities and homes. As the DSA is volunteer-run, the go directly to programming.
Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation
For 21 years, the Fisher Center has worked to end Alzheimer’s disease by increasing understanding, improving care and quality of life for those living with it, and searching for a cure. Founded by philanthropists Zachary Fisher and David Rockefeller and led by Nobel Laureate neuroscientist Paul Greengard, the Fisher Center devotes more than to its programming, including funding research and maintaining a comprehensive online , accessible through its website and over the phone.
Current Fisher Center president, Kent Karosen, recently authored a children’s book, , designed to help families talk about loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s.
Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation
Although a smaller organization than some, the resources provided by the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation (LIAF) are mighty. Founded in 1988, LIAF’s is to improve the quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders, and their caregivers.
LIAF provides programming for people with all stages of Alzheimer’s, as well as physical therapy, caregiver support groups, and brain fitness workshops for those living in the Long Island, New York area. In 2015, about went to programming. If you’re in the area, check out their . Recent fundraisers include Cocktails and Casino Night and an annual golf classic.