Central New York Chapter News & Action Center

The End of Alzheimer's Begins with You.

CNY Advocates Make Their Voices Heard at Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum

From left to right: Chapter CEO Cathy James, Rep. Dan Maffei, Eileen Krupka and Jim Browning.

From left to right: Chapter CEO Cathy James, Rep. Dan Maffei, Eileen Krupka and Jim Browning.

More than 900 people, including two volunteers from Central New York, used their voice to speak on behalf of millions affected by Alzheimer’s disease at the 26th annual Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum last week in Washington, D.C. Jim Browning of Mt. Upton and Eileen Krupka of Baldwinsville joined Alzheimer’s Association staff members and volunteers from all 50 states for two days of workshops that culminated in visits with local congressional representatives.

Browning and Krupka are Alzheimer’s Association Ambassadors to Reps. Richard Hanna and Dan Maffei, respectively. Ambassadors are volunteer liaisons to these Congressional offices, conducting regular meetings to keep them updated on legislation and regulatory issues pertaining to the five million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. Continue reading

NUTRITION & ALZHEIMER’S: The Brain Healthy Diet

The latest in a series by Dr. Christina Hasemann, Ph.D., RD, L/CDN.

While no special diet is required for people with Alzheimer’s disease—unless they have another condition, such as diabetes, that requires diet monitoring—eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet is extremely beneficial. With the proper diet, your body will work more efficiently, you’ll have more energy, and your medications will work properly.

What is a Brain-Healthy Diet?!
According to the latest nutritional research, a brain healthy diet is one that reduces the risks of both heart disease and diabetes, and encourages adequate blood flow to the brain and central nervous system.  Just like all other major organs systems, the brain needs adequate nutrition to function properly! And, of course any healthy diet goes only so far for prevention of chronic illnesses, thus it should be complemented with physical activity, and in the case of brain health, adequate mental and social activities.

Why is a Brain-Healthy Diet important?!
Think of your brain as your major control center for your body. It needs to be adequately nourished to carry out all those important tasks that are vital to our existence. In order to supply the brain with adequate blood flow and nutrients, a diet that helps to prevent heart disease, diabetes and obesity goes a long way!  All three of these diseases can impair circulation, or bloodflow to vital organ systems, causing them to malfunction and eventually shut down. So, for good health of your brain and body, start by managing your body weight. Some studies have shown that adults who were obese at middle age were twice as likely to develop dementia in later life. Those who also had high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes had six times the risk.

What exactly is a Brain-Healthy Diet?!
A Brain-Healthy diet really isn’t anything different than the healthy diet that we should all be striving to follow daily!

  • Work on reducing the sources of saturated fats and cholesterol in your diet. These bad fats are found in animal products and are the largest contributors to clogged arteries.
  • Try to reduce portions of animal products and switch to lower fat versions whenever possible.
  • Focus your diet on consumption of healthy unsaturated oils – such as olive and canola oils.
  • Be mindful of transfats that can be found in baked goods and snack foods. The government has banned transfats, but it will take up to 2 years or more for them to be eliminated from our food supply.
  • Increase your intake of protective foods – those that are high in antioxidants.  Fruits and vegetables have the highest levels of naturally occurring antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent damage to our cells.  Include generous servings of dark, green leafy vegetables and brightly colored fruits into your diet.
  • Don’t forget the benefit of essential fatty acids in cold water fishes such as salmon, halibut, mackerel trout and tuna.
  • And enjoy a guilt-free handful of your favorite nuts: almonds, walnuts and pecans are best!

Dr. Christina Hasemann, Ph.D., RD, L/CDN is a member of the Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter board of directors. Dr. Hasemann is a registered dietician who specializes in senior nutrition, and president of NY-Penn Nutrition Services, Inc. Dr. Hasemann’s Nutrition Basics series appears on this blog on a regular basis. Consult a medical professional before adopting any dietary changes.

Central New Yorkers Head to Washington to Advocate for Millions Affected by Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Eileen Krupka of Baldwinsville and Jim Browning of Mt. Upton will participate in the 26th annual Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C., April 7-9. Krupka and Browning will join more than 800 people with the disease, caregivers and fellow advocates from across the nation to appeal to their members of Congress for action on Alzheimer’s disease. While on Capitol Hill, advocates will share their personal stories with legislators and request that adequate research funding be allocated for Alzheimer’s disease.
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Alzheimer’s Association Reports That Women In Their 60s are Twice as Likely to Develop Alzheimer’s Disease Over the Rest of Their Lives as They are Breast Cancer

According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report released Wednesday, a woman’s estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s at age 65 is 1 in 6, compared with nearly 1 in 11 for a man. As real a concern as breast cancer is to women’s health, women in their 60s are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s over the rest of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer. Continue reading

National and Regional Experts Featured at DEMENTIACARE2014

Dr. Heather Snyder, Ph.D., director of medical and scientific operations for the national Alzheimer’s Association, will present at DEMENTIACARE2014, May 7, 2014 at the Doubletree By Hilton Hotel Syracuse. Presented by the Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter, this third annual conference welcomes individuals caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia for a day of learning and empowerment. Admission to the conference is $75 and includes a continental breakfast, lunch, refreshments and a resource guide.

“Our goal is to equip the caregivers that attend with practical solutions for their everyday use,” said Catherine James, chief executive officer for the Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter. “In planning this year’s conference, we decided to get ‘back to basics’ and discuss the topics that are most requested and asked by those that call our office and visit our website. We’re lucky to have such a great pool of experts in this area to draw from.”

REGISTER: Reserve your seat online

Snyder (right) will present two breakout sessions on research: current progress in Alzheimer’s research and advanced Alzheimer’s research topics. Alzheimer research is one of three breakout tracks at the conference, of which attendees can choose one or both presentations. Other tracks include:

  • Tough Talks, which confronts the difficult conversations faced by family caregivers. Dr. Carol Podgorski, Ph.D. from the University of Rochester Medical Center will present tactics for navigating difficult discussions and family issues, while a panel of facility and home care experts will discuss how to make the transition into home or long term care.
  • Caregiving at Home, featuring a joint presentation from first responders from Syracuse Police and Fire Departments and Rural/Metro of Central New York on keeping a person with dementia safe and safeguarding the living environment. A second session in that track, presented by Dr. Nanette Dowling, D.O. of Upstate Medical University, focuses on practical solutions to dementia-related behaviors.

Attendees will hear from keynote presenters at the beginning and end of the day, can chose from six different breakout presentations during two breakout times.

REGISTER: Reserve your seat online

The morning keynote is a joint presentation by Ami S. Longstreet of Mackenzie Hughes and Sandra Kalbach of Key Private Bank on legal and financial concerns for individuals and families living with Alzheimer’s, including documents, Medicaid qualification and safeguarding assets. The afternoon keynote, Demystifying Medicare, will be presented by Theresa Cangemi, CSA, CLTC, and focus on the intricacies of Medicare and navigating the various parts and supplemental plans available to seniors.

Registration can be completed online, or by phone at (315) 472-4201 x108 (Syracuse), (315) 294-1691 x108 (Auburn), (315) 596-4016 x108 (Oswego), (315) 617-4025 x108 (Utica/Rome), (315) 782-8755 x108 (Watertown/Ft. Drum), (607) 785-7852 x108 (Binghamton), (607) 330-1647 x108 (Ithaca), or (607) 289-4098 x108 (Cortland).

Cowden Family Donates Tournament Proceeds to Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter


For the past decade, the family of the late Gerald F. Cowden has paid tribute to his memory through the sport he loved: golf. The Gerald F. Cowden Memorial Golf Tournament marked 10 years of play at its August 2013 outing at Camillus Country Club.

Recently, brothers Jerry and Mike Cowden presented a check for $24,000 to the Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter, the proceeds from the 10th anniversary event. The donation will contribute to the worldwide fight to end Alzheimer’s and services to individuals, families and caregivers in the community. The family has raised more than $206,500 over the past decade.

Gerald F. Cowden died in 2003 from Alzheimer’s disease, just five years after being diagnosed. He was a well-known engineer, retiring as the president of the company now known as Beardsley Design Associates. Cowden served his country as a second lieutenant during the Korean War and in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He was also an avid golfer. In the 2013 tournament program, his sons wrote: “One of the hardest of these setbacks came two years before his death, when it became too difficult for him to continue playing in his Sunday morning foursome, and he reluctantly put his clubs away for the last time.”

The Gerald F. Cowden Memorial Golf Tournament is run by the Cowdens as a third-party event for the Chapter. If your family or organization would like to learn more about holding an event for the Alzheimer’s Association, call (315) 472-4201 or email cny-events@alz.org.

Yoga For A Cure Raises $2,000 for the Chapter


Tony Riposo (left) and Beth Ann Wise from Infinite Light Center for Yoga and Wellness present Grant Fletcher from the Chapter with the proceeds from Yoga For A Cure.

Infinite Light Center for Yoga and Wellness was the setting for Yoga For A Cure, a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter. More than 40 people took advantage of yoga classes, wellness sessions and massage therapy at the center in Jamesville.

Teachers from the center conducted classes in differing levels of yoga, including classes tailored specifically for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia caregivers. Reiki specialists were also on hand to demonstrate their craft and offer another avenue of relaxation and stress relief. Caregivers often report high levels of stress as they deal with the unpredictability of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Learning relaxation techniques, such as yoga, can ease anxiety, reduce exhaustion and prevent burnout.

More than $1,900 was raised at the event and donations to support the event can be made through March 14 online.