Members of the chapter participated in the AARP Mississippi Volunteer and Member Leadership Institute in Jackson on Oct. 30-31 to learn more about the disease and to better arm citizens of Bolivar County with updated information.
Chapter President Dr. Elaine Baker said the event strengthened the group's knowledge.
"The institute was informative and thought provoking," said Baker. "It is always an engaging experience to interact with AARP volunteers from throughout the state of Mississippi."
The group received updates from the AARP-MS State Director, the AARP-MS State President and the South Central Regional Volunteer Director.
"We had an opportunity to learn about 'best practices' from diverse sources and to share information about what is working for our chapter and how we may be able to improve in areas such as membership, recruitment, community awareness and program development."
Baker said a better understanding of Alzheimer's could help prepare families for the road ahead.
"Local citizens need to have information about the disease to help an individual or family member cope more effectively," she said. "It's very important that citizens know there will be good days and bad days, and that each person is affected differently with varying symptoms.
"Most importantly, citizens need to know that they are not alone. There are people who understand what you're going through and can help you and your family."
Baker encouraged those impacted by the disease to seek help from local support groups.
The St. Gabriel Mercy Center is the host organization for the Bolivar County support group, which meets every second Tuesday of the month from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Jerusalem M.B. Church on 4967 Highway 161 in Mound Bayou.
"Come listen, share and learn from others who understand what you are going through," said Baker. "The support groups are free and confidential."
Every 70 seconds, another American family is affected by Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is a complex neurological disease that is the most common form of dementia.
According to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation in New York, more than 5 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s and more than 10 million are caring for a loved one with the disease.
Data from the MIND Center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center revealed that 35.6 million people worldwide are living with the condition or other forms of dementia.
Those numbers are expected to double by 2030 and triple by 2050.
For more information on the support group, contact Dwana Lyles at 662-719-1483.
The government also provides free informational resources about Alzheimer's disease and related dementias at www.alzheimers.gov.