Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Champions Rock!

Dear Friends,
There are few things better than thanking people who move our mission forward. Actually the only thing better may be finding really fun ways to thank people! And our Walk to End Alzheimer's Champions deserve only the best!

What is a Walk to End Alzheimer's Champion? An individual who individually raises $500 or more for Walk to End Alzheimer's. Last year was the first year we started recognizing members of the Champions Club, due to the popularity and the enormous commitment Walkers make, we created the GRAND Champions club - individuals who raise $1,000 or more! Champions receive a medal on Walk day, and GRAND Champions receive a medal AND a really awesome Grand Champion t-shirt!

Check out our August honor roll --->

I love my job!

ALZNEWS

  • It is time for Walk and we are on a ROLL! If you haven't registered your team, it isn't too late! Visit alz.org/walk 
  • Did you know we were on Instagram? Catch our fav photos at @fightalzwv
  • Check our community calendar for upcoming events near you, click here!
  • We NEED YOU! to volunteer in our Charleston office! Have a few hours during the week to help answer phones and light computer work? Send us an email at wvinfo@alz.org! 
  • Still haven't registered for Walk? That was four bullets ago!! Get on it -> click here!
NEW Addiction
No, this is not a recipe this week. But, I have to share! A few years ago W gave me a KitchenAid mixer for Christmas, which I use weekly. I also received a number of attachments, including a meat grinder. I will admit, the meat grinder sat dormant for quite some time in the corner of my kitchen - until recently. It is truly my new addiction. The first night I hooked it up, we ground a chuck roast to make hamburgers. THE most amazing hamburgers you could imagine. Light, juicy, flavorful. 

Not to mention, after a stressful day, grinding up a hunk of meat provides a little bit of relief! 

Until next week! 
Laurel K.
@laurelmk
lkirksey@alz.org

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fall Back into the Groove

Dear Friends,
During the summer months I love to sit outside, reading, watching the birds, feeling the summer air - sadly, last night I had to run inside and put on pants. That can only mean one thing, fall is here.

As you probably noticed I took the past few months off from writing, almost like a summer break. We had a whirlwind year here at the Alzheimer's Association, so we collectively took the summer to assess where we were, where we wanted to go in the future and what we needed to organize to get there.

To say we took the summer off, would not even be close to the truth. Over the past few months we have hosted a huge number of community workshops, hosted a number of new early stage programs (including a super cool partnership with Marshall University Med Students! I <3 students, btw, they are so full of energy and they truly see now problems or challenges only solutions!) Across the state our Walk committees have been hard at work organizing for Walks - that start as soon as next week!

One of our most important accomplishments over the summer has been our strategic plan work. Over the past year our entire organization (across the country) worked to develop a new three-year strategic plan, we did so through the lens of a 10-year vision of where we want to be. To say this plan is aggressive, would be an understatement. But, when we came together as West Virginia we were not intimidated - we are energized, focused and determined to not only meet the objectives we set out for ourselves, but exceed them.

Why, you might ask? Because we have to. Through our ten-year plan we built a road-map to meeting the current growing need, while also building a strategic path to achieving our vision of a world without Alzheimer's. By increasing our collective drum beat through increasing concern and awareness, advocacy and fundraising we know we will get there.

But, you are a big part of our plan. We need your help, now more than ever. From speakers bureau, to Walk organizer, to Longest Day team task force to Board member. If you are committed to a world without Alzheimer's, if you are dedicated to supporting friends, family and neighbors facing the challenges of Alzheimer's and dementia - we need you.

Over the next few weeks I will be writing about various parts of our strategic plan, and how we are implementing new and different ideas to achieve our goals here in West Virginia. In the meantime, I would encourage you to check out our nationwide FY15-17 Strategic Plan, by following this link.

Together, we can achieve our vision of a world without Alzheimer's.

ALZNEWS

  • Want to get the inside scoop on what is happening in all things Alzheimer's and Alzheimer's Association? Sign up for our e-news! It is super simple, click this link
  • Are you registered for Walk to End Alzheimer's? Walk to End Alzheimer's is the largest fundraising and awareness raising event for the cause of Alzheimer's and dementia. Get your team going by visiting alz.org/WALK 
  • Have a few hours during the week to volunteer? We need you in our office!! HELP! For more info call 304.343.2717 or email wvinfo@alz.org
HOT! HOT! Corn on the Cob
A few weeks ago a number of us got together to host a yard sale, which if you know yard sales you have a number of dull moments. During which our awesome Walk volunteer shared a new recipe with me, mostly because she knows my love of hot and spicy. AND easy. AND inexpensive.

As summer winds down the corn crop is plentiful, and you can buy three or four ears for $1, throw them on the grill and what an easy side. Well, Molly took it one up a notch. Here is how: 

  • Shuck the husk off your corn
  • Butter the cob
  • Tear off a piece of tinfoil - place corn on tinfoil, and smear Siracha Mayo (YES! Siracha mayo, my new found love, now goes on EVERYTHING!) all over cob. When you think it is too much, that is just the right amount. 
  • Roll it up and place it on the grill or in the oven. Cook for 15-20 minutes. 
  • Unroll and devour! Have water handy, your lips will be tingly! 
Until next week, 
Laurel K.
@laurelmk
lkirksey@alz.org

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

AAIC Round Up!

Dear Friends,
Have you noticed the significant uptick in Alzheimer's and dementia related research news over the past week? I hope so! 

Last week, more than 4,000 miles away, the worlds largest gathering of Alzheimer's and dementia researchers are is happening in Copenhagen, Denmark. From diagnostics, to disease targets, to medicine, to social aspects - researchers are gathering, learning, sharing their ideas and announcing their research findings. 

Here are a few of the highlights:


While the press releases are informative, I also like to hear from the scientists. Catch video briefings from scientists by following this link: News Briefs

Seeing the tweets, photographs, and news briefings only strengthen our call to action. Together we can END Alzheimer's, but we have to rally together and keep the momentum going. 

ALZNEWS
Summer Snack
Nothing says summer like an afternoon snack! It is hot, you don't have much of an appetite, the sun is out longer. We often don't actually eat dinner until 8. In the meantime I have to have a snack! And homemade corn chips are my fav. Well, not entirely homemade - I do start with the store bought corn tortillas. You can find them right next to the flour tortillas in the grocery store. Cut them into quarters, spray them down with olive oil, sprinkle on salt and any other flavoring you like (lime zest is also a favorite), then pop them in the oven. A few keys to success: make sure you pre-heat your oven for at least 15 minutes so it is actually 400 degrees. Only cook them for 11 minutes. or until they are golden around the edges. When you let them cool for a few minutes they will be nice and crunchy! 


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Muscles, Man

Dear Friends,
I recently celebrated a birthday, which is always exciting to reach the finish line of one trip around the sun and launch into another.

This year, the first birthday card I received was from my chiropractor. A not so subtle reminder that as my twenties grow farther away in the review mirror, so does my ability to bounce back from injuries, periods of inactivity, and illness.

My recent trips to the chiropractor for a sports related injury have taught me the importance of maintaining muscles as we age. As a matter of fact, the injury I was treated for, was blamed entirely on my lack of upper body strength and zero work to improve my upper body strength. (You can literally visualize my Dr. wagging her finger at me!)

As we age our muscles atrophy faster, meaning we have to actually work to keep them around (uggg!) However, our muscles can truly be our best friends as we age, especially as caregivers and individuals with Alzheimer's or dementia. By maintaining our core strength, we have improved balance, meaning less chance of falls; we can carry out our daily activities with greater ease; and even bounce back from illness. Not to mention the stress relief that comes a long with a little exercise. For individuals with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, light exercise has been shown to decrease anxiety and stress including easing the anxiety related to sundowning.

Now I am not talking about becoming a body builder, or even daily trips to the gym. (I actually just cancelled my membership!) The best part about thinking about our muscles is it is never too late to start and exercise happens everywhere, everyday! From chair exercises to things we do around the house, like vacuuming and gardening, you can turn any activity into muscle building.

As a matter of fact, as I am typing I am flexing my foot up and down to strengthen the muscles on the front of my leg to prevent shin splints.

Need a place to start? There are tons of resources out there, but here are a few really great ones!

National Institute of Health: Senior Health
CDC: Physical Exercise (includes suggested exercises with pictures!)

When it comes to our bodies, if you don't use it, you lose it!

ALZNEWS

  • Thank you to everyone who made the inaugural Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month a success! We even were tweeted by the Governor! I loved seeing all of the Go Purple and Longest Day activities. By educated our communities, we can achieve our vision of a world without Alzheimer's. 
  • The count down to Walk to End Alzheimer's has begun! Have you registered your team yet?
  • We have a number of community workshops and Walk events scheduled throughout the summer, be sure to stay tuned to our community calendar for all the latest!  
  • Have you recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or know someone who has? Our early stage programs are for you and your caregiver. Find out more information and an event near you by clicking here. 
  • Cleaning out your garage or getting rid of old furniture? We are on the hunt for a few wing-back chairs to make our family care consultation room more comfortable. Send us an email if you think you have something! wvinfo@alz.org

Summer Cobbler
Summer is the best, fresh fruit and vegetables seem to be everywhere you turn. I love an easy cobbler, and when you make it in individual servings it seems just that much easier. The great thing about this recipe is that the blueberries and pear can be substituted for just about any other kind of fruit.

Pre-heat the oven to 350. Peel and cut two large pears, mix with 1 cup of blueberries, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg, pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon. In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup of flower, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 cup of butter (chilled), and a pinch of sugar. Feel free to add in almond extract or almond paste! Divide the pears/berry mix between your individual sized ramekins, then top with the flour/butter mixture. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown! Serve with ice cream or homemade whip cream!

Until next week!
Laurel K.
@laurelmk
lkirksey@alz.org

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Go Purple, NOW!

Dear Friends,
June is Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month, so let's paint the town purple! 

When we share the facts, we can change the numbers. Throughout the month of June, educate your friends and families about Alzheimer's disease and brain health; share the facts about Alzheimer's disease; and GO PURPLE at work, at church, at your soccer game - anywhere!

You can even enter your favorite GO PURPLE photo into a contest!

Looking for ideas on how to go PURPLE? Visit the Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month website, or give us a call at 800.272.3900.

ALZNEWS
Holy smokes May was an exciting month. Thank you to everyone who came out to support one of our education or fundraising events! It was wonderful to see so many people in just a few short weeks! We are in the last month of our fiscal year so we are still pretty busy, working to hit our strategic goals and closing out the rest of Caregiver University! Not to mention enjoying a little sunshine!

  • Two Caregiver University events left! If you haven't had a chance to join us for Caregiver University, you still have a chance! There are a few spaces open THIS Friday in Charleston, and Woodsfield Ohio next week. For more information and to register, visit our Caregiver University page. 
  • If you or someone you love is in the early stage of Alzheimer's or dementia, we have a support network of people for you. Our early stage social groups are meeting, and a number of our education events are happening throughout the summer. Visit our Early Stage page for more information. 
  • Is your Walk to End Alzheimer's team registered? Our Walk to End Alzheimer's committees are hard at work organizing Walk events across the state. Start forming your team now!
  • The Longest Day is about fighting Alzheimer's from sunup to sundown, want to learn more? Check out the Longest Day here. 
Grill Baby, Grill!

I am a 365 grill user. It can be a blinding snow storm in the middle of winter, but if I am in the mood, I will happily brave the storm for the great grill flavor. All the more reason to love summer. But, the hot days of summer I also lose my desire for heavy food. That is why I love, love turkey burgers. The turkey takes on any flavor that you love, from Asian, to BBQ, to summer herbs. Here is my favorite recipe (makes four burgers):

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup of finely grated Gruyere chese
  • 2 tsp. rosemary (picked from the summer garden)
  • 2 tsp. thyme (also picked from the summer garden)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbs. of finely grated onion
  • Salt & pepper to taste (easy on the salt, Gruyere has plenty)
Mix all of the ingredients together, then form into four patties. I like to have my two side burners on medium, and the middle one on high. Grill until the juices run clear. Add toppings to your heart's content.

Until next week!
Laurel K.
@laurelmk
lkirksey@alz.org

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

#DoorBumperClear

Dear Friends,
I spent the weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway for our annual pilgrimage to the NASCAR All Star race, one of our favorite races all year. They changed up the format so qualifying for the race happened right before the race - meaning we got to sit through all of the excitement. 

Racers were required to complete two laps followed by a 4-tire pit stop, then finish with  a final lap around the track. The excitement came with no speed limit on pit road (normally 45 mph). 

As we watched each driver come screaming down pit road at a cool 180 mph, headed straight for their pit crew, it got me thinking about trust. At those speed, whether you are behind the wheel or behind the wall, trust is all you've got. 

But for those of us at the normal speed of life, we can learn a lot from these high flying teams. Trust makes all the difference. 

A successful qualifying run (leading to a strong starting position) relied entirely upon two aspects: not overshooting your pit box, and the crew leaping across the wall at the very exact moment the speeding car was nearly about to run them over. Time and time again the most successful pit stops happened when drivers had complete faith in the spotters (located high above the track) to give them the cue to start slowing. Those that didn't follow the spotters cue, overshot their box and ended at the back of the pack. 

Spotters and their drivers essentially create thier own trust language. Dale Jr. and his spotter TJ Majors navigate traffic with just a few simple words, door-bumper-clear - leading their team to one of the best in the leauge. But, without Dale Jr trusting his spotter's guidance, they would surely be back of the pack, or worse - wrecked! 

Jamie McMurray won $1,000,000 Saturday night by winning the All Star Race. In the post-race interviews he attributed their team's success to his crew chief's call for a two-tire final pit stop. While most of the other cars were taking four tires, Jamie trusted his expert, and it landed them in the winners circle. 

There are a lot of other things that go into a successful team, hours and hours of practice, excellent equipment, skilled drivers at crews. But, during these high performance, stressful situations - with a million bucks on the line - a foundation  of trust will get you to the winners circle,  or pretty darn close. 

When we think about trust in terms of our lives and caregiving, the same rule applies. So often we hear from caregivers - they just won't care for him\her like I do. That is immediately after telling us they are on the brink of a breakdown from the stress. A friend of mine, put the work in to build a crisis plan in the event her loved one had to go to the hospital. It included a roster of people ready to help and spend a few hours at her loved one's bedside. When an emergency came, she didn't trust the plan or the people she had charged with carrying it out. She ended up spending 4 straight days at her father's bedside declining all offeres of relief - and ended up with pnemonia because of the stress. 

Trust is easier said than done. I am writing this not as an expert, but as a reminder to myself. Sometimes caregiving feels like we are driving 180 mph into turn 3, but we can make  it around the curve  - crash free when we trust the team we have built around us. 

ALZNEWS
Buckle up! We have an exciting couple of weeks around the Alzheimer's Association! 

  • Tickets are flying off the shelf for the Thanks for the Memories Luncheon! Get your tickets before we sell out! We are celebrating Senator Rockefeller with the Alzheimer's Association Legacy Award and Rachel Torlone with the Sylvia Watkins Walk to End Alzheimer's Award. 
  • Check out this great article in the Charleston Gazette on our upcoming Early Stage program. This educational program will be hosted in Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown and Wheeling over the summer. Visit the website or call 800.272.3900 for more information.
  • We are halfway through our Caregiver University events! You have three opportunities left: Bluefield; Charleston; and Woodsfield, OH. Register here! 
  • Join us this Thursday to celebrate two of West Virginia's Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer's & Related Dementias authors! We are hosting a reception on Thursday, May 22 at 5 at Taylor Books. Stop in, congratulate the authors, read their entries, buy a book and get an autograph! See you Thursday! 
  • The Longest Day is 1 month away! Already teams are organizing really cool events! For more information on how you can grab your friends, do what you love and honor individuals facing Alzheimer's disease visit alz.org/tld (You can join other teams forming in your area too!)

Travel Gruel
Over the past seven days I have stayed at three different Hilton properties in three different parts of the country - fortunately they have pretty consistent oatmeal! With a fourth road trip happening Friday, I am growing weary of road food and can't wait to get back home to a home made meal! Fingers crossed for home cooking next week!

Until next week! 
Laurel K. 
lkirksey@alz.org
@laurelmk

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Make the Most of Your Visit

Dear Friends,
Last week I was chatting with a young woman who shared with me that her grandmother has Alzheimer's disease. But, she also shared with me that she does not visit her grandmother in the nursing home because she has Alzheimer's. After I recovered from my urge to shake her, it got me started thinking - and this is a common reaction and part of the stigma of Alzheimer's disease that we need to conquer. 

Visiting a loved one in the middle and late stages of Alzheimer's disease or dementia can often be intimidating and frightening. The nursing home setting can also be frightening, especially for young adults or children. I can understand this young woman's urge to remember her grandmother before this devastating disease took over her mind and body, but as with any loved one facing a serious illness - this is the time they need us the most!

So, if you or someone you know is feeling this kind of anxiety or fear, it is OK and totally normal. But, we have to overcome this fear to be there for the one we love. So, I put together a few tips and ideas:

  • Learn about Alzheimer's and dementia and the disease process. This will help you know what to expect, and be able to separate your loved one and the disease. There is a lot of grief when someone you love doesn't recognize you, but knowing this is the disease and not your loved ones heart can provide a little peace. 
  • Even if you think your loved one doesn't know you there, they know. Even in the very late stages of the disease a loving touch or holding hands, singing or reading will bring a sense of comfort and love.
  • If your loved one can no longer tell you they love you and need you, it doesn't  make those feelings go away. 
  • If your loved one has limited mobility or limited ability  to communicate, you can still do activities together! Think about what they loved in life, were they a gardener, painter, teacher, reader, singer you can modify these kinds of activities so your loved one can still enjoy the experience, and most importantly enjoy it with you. Here are a few ideas: 
    • Look for botany books with large photographs and go through the pictures talking about the flowers
    • Not into flowers? Think cars, birds, oil rigs - the library is a great resource of books with large beautiful pictures
    • Bring a book and read, poetry, Shakespeare, People magazine, national geographic
    • Bring a photo album and reminisce about the pictures
    • Small children? How about finger painting, or stringing macaroni to make necklace
  • Go slow and take your time asking questions and waiting for responses. The disease disrupts the brain's processes, making response time much slower than yours. 
  • Keep visits simple, only bring a few people at a time, and know when your loved one is getting tired. 
Still feeling anxious? Ask the activities director at the home, they have great ideas and will be willing to help! Or give us a ring, we not only have great activities, but also really great books that will help you talk to your children about Alzheimer's or dementia. 

Please, go visit this Mother's Day or on a random Wednesday. Many years ago I wish someone would have shaken me, I learned the very hard way that when someone is gone, they are gone forever. I would give everything to have five more minutes with my Pappaw, even if it was in the last few years of his life during his struggle with Parkinson's.

I can promise you, whatever it is that is keeping you from making that visit can not be worse than a lifetime of regret for missing the opportunity.

ALZNEWS

  • Don't miss your chance to catch Caregiver University 2.0! We have a few events left this year, find one near you and register by clicking here! 
  • Have your or someone you know been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in the past year? Join one of our Living with Alzheimer's groups, more information by clicking here! 
  • Please join us in celebrating the immense contributions of Senator Rockefeller to the cause of Alzheimer's disease on May 29 at the Thanks for the Memories Luncheon. This event is one of our largest fundraising events, we hope to see you there! Ticket and table sponsorship here!
  • Join us to celebrate our local authors! We will be celebrating authors, Jennifer Waggener and Susan Young, who were recently published in the new Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer's and Other Forms of Dementia. This edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul is flying off the shelves, so this is your opportunity to buy a copy, and spend sometime chatting with the authors while - I bet they will even autograph your copy! The event will be held on May 22 at 5:30 p.m. at Taylor Books, more info call 800.272.3900.
  • PANCAKES! Head to IHOP in Morgantown on May 21 from 5 -10 for Dann's Angel's Walk to End Alzheimer's team! 
  • Speaking of Walk to End Alzheimer's, have you registered your team? JOIN US!
Favorite Things: J.Q. Dickinson Salt Works


I helped put together a cook off a few months ago, and the gal in charge of the ingredients brought this little jar of love into my life. This company is a true family affair, you can read more about their story, here.

The thing about salt, is the more you use - overtime the more you need, which is not always a great thing. I have never used a lot of salt in my cooking so a little goes along way. Their artisan salt provides the perfect amount of seasoning - a beautiful final touch to any dish! 

And, it is a West Virginia product made with lots of love! Find where you can buy a little jar of love here!

Until next week! 

Laurel K.
lkirksey@alz.org
@laurelmk 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Weathering the Storm

Dear Friends,
This week friends of mine in Mississippi and families in many other states were devastated by terrifying tornadoes. I have been glued to Facebook feeds to make sure friends and their families survived, along with their pets, homes and businesses.

As the storms passed, communities came together. Mississippi State's baseball team helped build storm shelters, students collected toiletries and cleaning supplies - together entire communities started the process of cleaning debris and rebuilding.

I can't help but pray extra hard for the families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease. Natural disasters are extraordinarily challenging for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers. The chaos and stress, changing locations, getting separated....

Spring brings sometimes violent weather extremes - our area is currently under a flash flood warning. As caregivers we have to be prepared for whatever weather spring sends us. We can't predict the weather, the only thing we can be is prepared.

Click here for tips to get you started preparing for any kind of disaster. For more tips and information call, 800.272.3900.

ALZNEWS

  • Angel's Perch on the BIG SCREEN! Join us Friday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m. at the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences to watch the beautiful and insightful film, Angel's Perch. Buy your advance tickets HERE! (Don't miss my 15 seconds of FAME!)
  • Caregiver University! It is hard to imagine we are nearly half way through our Caregiver University events! Our friends are Cabell Huntington Hospital are graciously hosting us next week! Find a Caregiver University near you and register! 
  • Thanks for the Memories Luncheon is May 29, please join us to honor Senator Rockefeller with the Legacy Award for his continued and outstanding service to families, not only in West Virginia, facing Alzheimer's and dementia. His footprint on the cause of Alzheimer's disease is great and unmatched. Order your tickets or sponsor a table by calling 800.272.3900 or click here. 
  • Have you checked out our community calendar?
Life is Bananas
Ok, I really do eat very healthy. And it is this healthy eating that drove my desire for my own ice cream maker - so I could whip up healthy sorbets and ice cream concoctions. So what do I make first? Indulgently creamy vanilla ice cream, while we are going rich and delicious might as well go all the way with Bananas Foster and go all the way. Only make and eat after a day of hard labor, really. 


Ingredients
1/4 cup of butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of cream
1/2 tsp of cinnamon  
1 cup of dark rum
2 bananas 

Over med/low heat melt butter and stir in brown sugar and cinnamon, mix in the cream and stir until sugar dissolves. Peel bananas and cut in half lengthwise, then cut in half again. Add the bananas, and continue to cook until bananas soften (happens pretty quickly). As soon as the bananas soften, add the rum on top, turn off the heat and light on fire! 

Spoon out a few bananas on top of a few scoops of ice cream, then drizzle with the delicious sauce. 

Enjoy!

Laurel K.
lkirksey@alz.org
@laurelmk

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tough Conversations

Dear Friends,
Alzheimer's and dementia pose a lot of great challenges for families. In the beginning stages of the disease, some of the greatest challenges are the tough conversations that have to happen. It is time to stop driving; maybe we should talk to the doctor about not remembering; how are we going to pay for care; there might be a time you wander away from home and get lost.

Not to mention family is tough. You know what I am talking about!

These tough conversations are the inspiration behind a new workshop we created called, Conversations About Dementia. The workshop covers three of the toughest conversation you might have as a family, and how to navigate through, as well as options and resources to ease your decision making.

We will be offering this workshop in Charleston on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and in Morgantown on Wednesday at 11 am. For more information call, 800.272.3900.

ALZNEWS

Le Quiche
The egg and egg associated dishes are synonymous with Easter. And, since my mom had all of Easter dinner covered (including my favorite - deviled eggs), I offered to make brunch. 

Well, except that I don't really know how to make any brunch type food. Fortunately, my only reading material at home is a plethora of food and lifestyle magazines full of Easter brunch recipes. So, I landed on Quiche, until we were at the grocery store, and W says, "I hate quiche. I had it in France, and I hated it." Well, bad word. Well, I said back, too late now - this quiche train is leaving the station. 

There is really nothing heartier, and you can make it healthier - but why ruin a good thing? 

I tried to be a hero and make my own crust, my advice - don't be a hero. It was a lot of headache - so the below recipe is just for the filling - you are going to have to be responsible for finding your own crust! 

As it turns out W really liked my quiche - he had seconds! So maybe mine was better than France's? I like to think so. 

Ingredients
2 Green Onions (leeks or ramps are also good substitutes)
1/2 lb of crispy bacon
1 cup of Gruyere cheese (really, don't sub out the Gruyere, - it is a special occasion, make the investment)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
pepper to taste
light salt (there is plenty in the bacon)
1/4 tsp. of chili powder
1 1/4 cup of milk or half and half

Preheat oven to 375. In a pre-baked pie or tart shell, layer bacon, green onions and cheese. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and seasoning. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden. Serve with your favorite egg topping (avocado, hot sauce, salsa...) Then tell everyone it is better than France's. 

Until next week! 

Laurel K.
lkirksey@alz.org
laurelmk

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Complacency will get you nothing

Dear Friends,
Greetings from inside the beltway (Washington, DC)! Our group of advocates descended upon the city Monday for the Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Forum. Depending on your perspective it is the culmination or launch of a year of advocacy work (or both). 

Sometimes our volunteers tell me that advocacy work seems ambiguous or intimidating. The slow turn of democracy also makes your efforts sometimes feel futile. 

This is my 5th year of attending the advocacy forum. My first year attending in 2008 I was overwhelmed with the crowd of 400, this year there are nearly 1,000 advocates in attendance! This advocacy thing is really catching on. 

To put it simply, we have to make our lawmakers understand the growing crisis of Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's is THE most expensive disease in our country, with costs only expected to skyrocket. This year, Alzheimer's cost more than $200 billion! 

What is this going to cost me is one of the most common questions we get at on the Hill. And one advocate said it best: 

What is my mother worth?

Don't we owe it to our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, grandchildren to raise our VOICE?

Congressman Tonko from NY said it best:

Complacency will get you nothing. Advocacy will get you everything. 

Follow our journey to DC at: #AlzForum or Facebook.com/AlzheimersAssociationWVChapter

Award Winning Memorable Mac&Cheese
As you know our Charleston office rallied to support the Childhood Language Center's Mac&Cheese cook off on Saturday. We came together and built a recipe using each of our favorite parts of our personal Mac&Cheese recipes. I know it sounds gross but it actually came our amazing! We stole the stove top stuffing topping from Kaarmin, fire roasted tomatoes from Jennifer, I offered up my love for spicy Mac&Cheese, and Kelsey's healthy version didn't really fit the bill but her selection of noodles was key. 

You won't believe this, but WE WON!!! By ALOT!!! People were calling their friends to come down to the cook off to try our Mac&Cheese! We even beat the restaurants! SO, without further ado our AWaRD WINNING Memorable Mac&Cheese!
1/2 pound Cavatappi
1/2 pound Mezzi Rigatoni
1lbs- Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 8 oz. White Cheddar Jalapeno Cheese 
1 c. butter
1 c. flour
1.c half and half
1.c milk 
Palm-full and a half of Tony Chachere's Canjun Seasoning
Half palm-full ground mustard
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
1 can fire roasted tomatoes 
3/4 package of Cornbread Stuffing, crushed with hands or pan
Boil pasta according to package directions. Remember, your pasta water should taste like the sea! I would also recommend pulling the pasta out just shy of al dente because pasta will soak up the cheese and continue to soften just a bit while in the oven. While pasta cooks, add crushed stuffing, half palm-full of Tonys and some cheese together. Set aside. In separate pot, melt butter. Add flour and stir together until combined. Let cook for a couple minutes so that the raw flower taste can cook out. Add milk and half and half and stir to combine. Allow sauce thicken. Once thickened add mustard, Tony's and pepper and stir to combine. ONce combined, add cheeses a little at a time, giving each addition time to melt into the sauce. A little more salt and pepper may need to be added, depending on taste.  




After all the cheese is melted and the sauce is a delicious, velvety dream, add to pasta, along with fire roasted tomatoes. Stir. Add topping and bake, 375 for about 20 minutes or until top is golden brown. Try not to eat the whole pan in one sitting!!

See you back in Charleston next week! 
Laurel K
Lkirksey@alz.org
@laurelmk00

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Caregiver University Preview

Dear Friends,
Our first Caregiver University of the year is happening next Friday in Belpre, OH. Over the next three months we will host Caregiver University events across the state. Caregiver University is a one-day mini-conference for family and professional caregivers. This year will mark the third year for Caregiver University, we've seen tremendous success over the past two years and look forward to really successful events this year! 

Since this is the third year for Caregiver University, we looked back at our previous two years of feedback from participants and made a number of tweaks and changes. Namely incorporating more time for discussion, questions and activities. 

Here is a preview of the topics: 

Behaviors Revisited: An ABC Approach
This workshop will incorporate your challenges as a caregiver with meaningful discussion and interactive activities to practice the easy to implement communication techniques. This workshop will address challenging behaviors, bridging the communication gap with your loved one, and how to incorporate activities into your daily routine. 

Legal and Financial Considerations
Back by popular demand Senior Legal Aid's Cat McConnell will walk us through the maze of legal and financial issues you may face as a caregiver. Her easy to understand advice makes these complex issues a little less daunting. Our Ohio CU events will feature one of the most well respected elder attorneys in the Mid Ohio Valley region, and even the state, Gerald Townsend. We appreciate both of their time and dedication to Caregiver University.

Caregiver Cafe
A number of our events will once again feature Dr. Shirley Nietch and the Caregiver Cafe. He practical advice to coping with your family through caregiving is a session you don't want to miss. Dr. Nietch links you with not only practical caregiving advice, but how to de-stress and resources to help you through your journey. 

Understanding and Coping with Care Transitions
This is a new addition to Caregiver University and will be featured at Belpre, OH; Romney, WV; and Bridgeport, WV. The focus of this workshop is looking at the transitions in care that often accompany Alzheimer's and dementia. From home to long term care or hospice, this workshop will give you the tools to plan for the future. 

Safety & Preparedness with Persons with Dementia
Wandering, driving, hospitalization, kitchen appliances, family valuables - the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease increase safety risks for persons with the disease and those who care for them. But, when you plan ahead you will be able to better cope when incidents happen. You will leave this interactive workshop with plans to cope with a variety of potential safety concerns. 


In Other News! 
Follow us at the forum! Next week a group of advocates are headed to Washington, D.C. to meet with West Virginia's Congressional delegation on the crisis of Alzheimer's disease and how they can support efforts to help caregivers and researchers. Follow our journey on Facebook or Twitter! You can also follow the hashtag: #alzforum or #endalz

Pimento Cheese!
In our activities training we talk about how even the simplest of activities can activate memories from the brain. Often cooking is one of those every day activities that can be a great reminiscing activity with your loved one. From smell, to taste to touch and the physical actions can trigger favorite memories. Classic recipes, like pimento cheese, are perfect for these type of reminiscing activities.
One of my earliest memories of my dad is his love of pimento cheese. For some awful reason I HATED pimento cheese as a child, but lately my mom has been whipping up a homemade version that I can't get enough of. So, when we were grocery shopping for our Mac&Cheese Cook off supplies last week, I got the cheese bug and whipped up the best tasting pimento cheese on the planet! 

Side bar: Yes! Mac&Cheese cookoff! We really love food at our office and jumped at the chance to support the Childhood Language Center here in Charleston. Our team was featured this week in the Charleston Daily Mail! BUT, the cookoff isn't until Saturday - so stay tuned for our winning Mac&Cheese recipe next week! 

Back to the pimento cheese!

It doesn't last long!
1 8 oz package of cheddar cheese (shredded)
1/4 8 oz package of jalapeno cheddar cheese (shredded)
Diced pimentos or other type of roasted pepper to your liking
1 tsp. Worcershire 
1 cup of mayo 
1 tbs. finely diced or grated onion

Directions: Dump into food processor and blend! We determined it was tasty with the pretzel chips, but they were too breakable. Old fashion club crackers won out on the taste testing, second to bagel chips! So easy, so homemade, a true walk down memory lane! 

Until next week! 

Laurel K. 
lkirksey@alz.org
@laurelmk


Thursday, March 27, 2014

MoneyMoneyMoneyMoney. Money!

Dear Friends,
Last week the Alzheimer's Association released the 2014 Alzheimer's Association Facts & Figures. The first F&F was released the year I joined the Alzheimer's Association in 2007. We realized there was no compilation of data - actually no one was actually really looking at Alzheimer's statistics as a whole - especially not law makers. Through Facts & Figures we have not only had data, we have also been able to drive data collection, which is so important when trying to understand the impact a single disease has on an entire nation.

Even as a novice advocate I learned quickly the first question will always be, "What is this going to cost me?" I am naive sometimes, always have my rose color glasses on - but in our dog eat dog world I've had to come to the realization that sometimes it is truly all about the Benjamins. Answering back with, you would be saving millions of lives by increasing research funding, by passing the HOPE Act you would make the process of diagnosis, care, hospitalization for millions of families 1,000 times easier.

SO, last year at the Advocacy Forum we came up with the best answer yet, "Here is what it is costing you by ignoring/under funding the future solution." (see picture to the left - yes they had to blow up the picture of the research funding because it was so small compared to Medicare/Medicaid spending)

As we prepare for the 2014 advocacy forum in just two short weeks, I am beefing up my money talking points. For example: 1 in 5 Medicare dollars are spent on Alzheimer's and dementia care; $220 billion is the value of unpaid care provided by friends, family & neighbors; As a country, Alzheimer's disease costs us $214 billion - including $150 in Medicare/Medicaid costs.

Don't worry, for those of you unable to make the trip to D.C. we will have a virtual visit set up so you can tell your Congressperson not to ignore Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

ALZNEWS

  • Dancing Through Time was AHAMAZING! You should have been there - actually we were pretty much at standing room only!! HUGE thank you to our generous sponsors, dancers, committee, volunteers and everyone who attended!!! Can't wait for next year, want to join the committee? Email Kim, kmatras@alz.org. 
  • Investigating the Research: The Newest in Alzheimer's Studies is a free, open to the public workshop THIS Friday, being hosted in Morgantown and Charleston. Visit the community calendar for more information.
  • Calling all Marketing Gurus! We are looking for a Marketing Chair for our Charleston & Wheeling Walk to End Alzheimer's!! For more info email Kaarmin, kford@alz.org. 
  • Caregiver University! Register Now!! Our best year yet, we have a full day of fun (yes, I said fun!), learning and interacting!! Click here to find an event near you!  
TLC in a Bowl (AKA Chicken Pot Pie)
This past week a great friend of mine had a beautiful baby! I was out of town over the weekend, so I knew the moment I got back I wanted to whip up a ready-made meal for her and her husband. On Monday, W had a really tough day so I knew we needed some comfort food to cure our case of the Mondays. 

One of the questions we are asked frequently at speaking engagement is, my neighbor is caring for her mother and I want to help but don't want to be too intrusive. Preparing a ready-made meal is one way you can always help a family in a caregiving situation. 

That is why this one is the WINNER of all. It produces enough for your dinner AND someone else! (There is no real recipe so I will just walk you through this one)


  1. Roast chicken - literally any cut, or if you have one of those handy rotisserie chickens, even better! I happened to have breast halves in my freezer. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt & pepper. Roast at 350 until temperature reads 180. 
  2. In a dutch oven or large pot, over medium heat melt 3-4 tbs. of butter (or 1 tbs. of butter and 2-3 tbs. of olive oil). 
  3. Add an entire onion, diced. Followed by 3-4 carrots, 3 cloves of garlic, 4-5 celery stalks (all diced) (any other vegetable you happen to enjoy in pot pie!)
  4. When the onions turn translucent, sprinkle 1/4 cup of flower (or more if you have more vegetables - they should all be coated) Add in 2 tsp. of thyme and rosemary, ample salt and 1 tbs. of pepper. 
  5. Stir in 1 carton of chicken stock (low sodium please! we have to watch the blood pressure)
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then it is your discretion - if you like a runny sauce in your pot pie, turn of the stove. If you like it a little thicker, keep it simmering for a few more minutes. Remember, the sauce will thicken in the oven. 
  7. Remove the chicken from the oven, shred then add to vegetable mixture. 
  8. PAUSE -> if you would like to make your crust by hand, I highly recommend this one from Martha Stewart. Sometimes hand made crust doesn't travel well when you are delivering - so store bought pie crust or even better a roll of crescent rolls is just as delish on top!
  9. Fill a pie pan or individual ramekins about 3/4 way to the top. Don't bake the dish you are delivering (or put the top on) go ahead and pop that one in the freezer, so it can be used when your neighbor sees fit! 
  10. For your dinner pot pie - top it with an amazing crust (be generous with the crust) and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes at 375 or until crust is slightly browned. 
WARNING - it is really hot, and smells amazing, don't try to eat until cooled slightly. Sincerely, my scorched tongue.

Enjoy! 

Until Next Week, 
Laurel K.
lkirksey@alz.org
@laurelmk 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

101 Activities To Do With Your Loved One

Dear Friends,
In a few weeks we are helping a church do a short training for a group of church members who are starting a shut-in outreach. While some of our training will be about the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's disease, a big focus will be engaging activities during a visit.

With that in mind, I wanted to share a GIANT list of activities you can do with your loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia. Keeping a loved one engaged with daily activities can ease anxiety and agitation, and most importantly help maintain independence and motor skills. If you have other favorite activities you would like to suggest to other caregivers, feel free to add them in the comments below.

Click here for 101 Activities!

AlzNews

  • There are a few spots left in our training on Thursday, Alzheimer's Disease: Basics of Best Care. This training meets the 2-hour dementia care training requirement for long term care staff. The training will be held in Charleston, to register call 800.272.3900 or email wvinfo@alz.org
  • Dancing Through Time THIS WEEKEND!! WOHOO!! We can't wait, dancers have been hard at work practicing and raising funds!! There are still tickets available, click here to order online OR call 800.272.3900.
  •  2014 Alzheimer's Association Facts & Figures will be released on Wednesday, March 19. This is the Association's annual compilation of statistics about Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for important updates and new statistics. 
  • Caregiver University is right around the corner! Click here for a list of events happening near you AND to register! 
  • Walk to End Alzheimer's Corporate Sponsorship: We are in the process of finalizing our corporate sponsorship for the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer's season! Corporate Sponsorship is a great way to support an important cause, while getting your name/logo on thousands of t-shirts, posters, post cards and events across the state. For more information contact, Kaarmin Ford, kford@alz.org or 800.272.3900. 
Old Standby
Each week I share a recipe with you as a reminder to take care of yourself. For me, cooking is my favorite de-stresser. However, there are some nights that it is more stress than I can handle. And that is when I lean on my favorite ingredients to make a dull weeknight meal a little bit more special. 

So, this week I thought I would share my FAVORITE weeknight spicer-upper. Rendezvous Famous Seasoning. I can still remember my first trip to Rendezvous, up the alley from the Peabody in Memphis, TN. Rendezvous seasoning once was only found at the famous rib shack - but now through the wonders of the internet you can order it right to your doorstep. The seasoning is not just great on ribs but, adds spice to burgers, chicken and pork chops! It sure made last night's pork chops seem like a weekend gourmet! 


Until next week! 

Laurel K.
lkirksey@alz.org
@laurelmk

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

NEW: I Have Alzheimer's Page

Dear Friends,
We can not say, you are not alone, enough. Over the past year our national program staff, early stage Alzheimer's advisory members and web developers created a website for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Here is the opening video:


Here is the link to the I have Alzheimer's page: http://www.alz.org/i-have-alz/i-have-alzheimers-dementia.asp

You are not alone.

Please share!

ALZNEWS

One Pot Wonder: Jambalaya
When you travel the country, and even around the world you discover that even though each culture has different names for favorite dishes - there so many common themes. For example, the easy to take to work meal - in the West Virginia coal mines it was the pepperoni roll, in the cotton fields of Mississippi it was the tamale - small, portable, one-handed consumption and delicious. Jambalaya is no different, every culture has a "throw what you have on hand to make and inexpensive meal" dish. Jambalaya happens to be the one I grew up with. It is so easy to make, it will become a week night favorite. 



Ingredients
This is a list of my favorite ingredients, but you can sub out whatever protein & vegetables you have on hand. This recipe fed four hungry people.
  • 1 large chicken breast (cut into bite size pieces)
  • 2 links of chorizo (Andouille is my fav, but other types of smoked sausage is also very delicious)
  • Olive Oil for pan
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 celery stocks
  • 1/2 bag of okra
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • Bay leaves
  • 1 tbs. Creole Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp (or more) hot sauce
  • 3/4 c. rice (or quinoa is tasty too)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 12-15 peeled shrimp
How To
Heat a large saucepan to med/high heat. When the pan is hot pour in 1-2 tbs of oil, and add chicken. Allow the chicken to brown, then add sausage to brown. A lot of people take the meat out at this point. But...I think it tastes better if you just make it all in one pot. Add the onion & garlic followed by celery and okra. When the onions begin to turn translucent, add the diced tomatoes - including the juice. Add bay leaves, creole seasoning, salt and pepper, Worcestershire & hot sauce. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Then add rice and liquid, bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is soft. (Warning, if you use brown rice, it will have to cook FOREVER!) At the very last moment add the shrimp and allow to cook until the shrimp turn pink! Serve with a heaping slice of cornbread. 

Until next week, 
Laurel K. 
@lauremlk
lkirksey@alz.org 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Watch This, Now Add Your VOICE

Dear Friends,
Advocacy is no longer calling in or meeting with your legislators. We have to deploy a variety of methods, sometime all at the same time to ensure we are building pressure to make things happen. From in person visits, to emails, to phone calls, to social media. Last week we orchestrated one of the most effective advocacy efforts - the Congressional hearing.

As you probably saw on TV, radio, Twitter - Seth Rogen testified at a Senate appropriations committee. But, what you may not have seen is the whole testimony from a variety of experts. Dr. Francis Collins brought a team of experts from the National Institute of Health to talk about the latest advancements in research and Congressman Dennis Moore testified about living with Alzheimer's disease and the challenges he and his wife faced after his diagnosis.

You can watch the entire 2 hours by clicking here. 

We learned from Dr. Francis Collins about the latest advancements in Alzheimer's and dementia research - but most importantly we learned what the extra $100 million in research funding will fund. Exciting and cutting edge science that otherwise would not happen.

This team of experts has now set the tone for the next team of experts - YOU!

You are the critical lever of our advocacy force. We are hard at work scheduling our meetings for the Advocacy Form in Washington, DC and our meetings before and after the forum to meet with in-district staff. If you would like to join us on these meetings, email wvinfo@alz.org or call 800.272.3900. We need your VOICE to tell Congress, address Alzheimer's disease now!

ALZNEWS

  • Living with Alzheimer's POSTPONED. Due to incredibly terrible weather we are postponing our Parkersburg and Charleston Living With Alzheimer's events until next Monday at 2 pm. For more information call 800.272.3900
  • Caregiver University ONLINE Registration is OPEN! Register now for a Caregiver University near you! Space at a number of our venues is limited, so register early! 
  • Dance to END Alzheimer's! Join us for Dancing Through Time, March 22 at Erickson Alumni Center in Morgantown! This fun event raises funds to support our mission! You can vote for your favorite dancing star and buy tickets online! 
  • Calling all Marshall's shoppers! Marshall's is once again collecting donations at their cash registers to support the Alzheimer's Association! Visit your nearest Marshall's store between March 2 - 15, and be sure to thank the cashier for supporting our important cause! 
  • Alzheimer's Disease: Basics of Best Care on March 20! This 2-hour training meets the OHFLAC annual dementia care training requirements and includes social work or nursing continuing education. Space is limited, pre-registration required! Email wvinfo@alz.org or call 800.272.3900
Bring the Chile Back

Something about apocalyptic storms makes me crave a giant pot of chili. Let me tell you, it was probably my best pot yet. I will post the recipe next week. But, I want to offer up my secret ingredient. Which, if you have been following this blog for a while you know know the answer.

Leaving Texas, I found that the chile is no longer the base of chili. Most recipes call for chili powder - which is good. But you lose so much of the rich and complex flavors of real chiles. I make what I call chili paste as the backbone of my chili (which it isn't really paste at all, more of a liquid) but you can use this for all kinds of things. Pour over your taco meat, base of enchilada sauce, spice up your boring chicken breast. So yesterday I made a little extra to keep in the freezer. My favorite bi-product of making chili paste is the chili water. It adds so much flavor and a little bit of heat to any soup our stew you are making.

You can buy a number of different kinds of dried chiles at your local grocery store, yesterday I used New Mexico chiles, they offer a slow burning after heat that is perfect for a spicy chile. So try different ones to see what kind of flavor you like best.

In a medium sauce bring 3 cups of water and 5-7 chiles to a boil, covered. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Depending on your time frame you can go ahead and blend your chiles now, or you can let them soak for as long as you want. When you are ready to blend, remove stems (I keep the seeds, but you can also remove the seeds) and place in a food processor or blender. Add at least 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the chile water. BLEND! You want to blend until the mixture is smooth. Use what you need in your recipe and then freeze the rest.

Then IMMEDIATELY WASH YOUR HANDS! A step I often forget and my lips or nose burn the rest of the day!

Until next week!

Laurel K.
lkirksey@alz.org
@LaurelMK

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Helpline is Just a Phone Call

Dear Friends,

Every day, all day we [at the Alzheimer's Association] talk about our 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900). I literally just finished writing an oped and included a part about our 24/7 Helpline. But, if you don't work for the Association and are not on our Board of Directors do you know what we mean? I am sure you are rolling your eyes, yea yea it is a call-in service if you need help.

Well, sort of. I try to put myself in our constituent shoes - would I attend a support group? What would get me to an advocacy day? Would I call an 800# for help? For some reason the last question has been top of mind lately.

Our Helpline is truly just a phone call. It isn't a process or an application, there are no qualifying questions or information we will demand from you, and it is FREE! All you have to do is pick up the phone. You don't even have to have a question. To be perfectly honest, a large majority of our Helpline calls start out that way - we just found out someone we love has Alzheimer's and we don't know where to start.

So, to help you understand why calling our Helpline is so important for anyone you know facing Alzheimer's disease I thought I would put together a list of a few of our most common questions:

  • We just received a diagnosis, what now? 
  • There is something happening with my loved one, is it Alzheimer's? And what is the diagnosis process?
  • We need  professional caregivers, where can we find help?
  • I think it is time for a nursing home, how? 
  • My loved one refuses to bathe, I don't know what to do?
  • Last week my loved one left the house and we couldn't find her for an hour - how can we keep her safe?
  • I am tired and stressed out, I just needed to say that out loud to someone.
  • She is seeing spiders on the wall and gets really angry when I tell her there aren't spiders on the wall. 
  • I want more information about clinical trials.
  • Caregiving is lonely.
  • I have early-stage Alzheimer's what can we do to get my family ready?
  • How do I talk to my boss about being a caregiver?
While that is a pretty short list of questions we answer on any given day, I hope it gives you an idea of the help available. Our 24/7 Helpline is a safe and confidential service to help through your journey with Alzheimer's. We are here to help,24/7. 

ALZNEWS
  • THIS Friday, our staff is meeting to plan out our goals and plan for Walk to End Alzheimer's. Have something that you would love to see a part of Walk? Email us at wvinfo@alz.org
  • COMMUNITY WORKSHOP! We are hosting community workshops in our Charleston and Parkersburg offices next week, click here for details!  
  • VOTE NOW! Our celebrity dancers are hard at work preparing for Dancing Through Time on March 22 - you can vote online for your favorite dancing duo! Click here to vote or buy tickets to attend the event! 
True Love is Creme Brulee
So, I don't know how to do the symbols to make the official spelling of creme brulee. Very quickly after W and I started dating I learned this is is FAVORITE dessert. So, I very quickly started practicing. I think I am pretty happy with my recipe to date, although every few months I tweak a little closer to perfection. So, here is my version of W's favorite dessert. (This is the every day version with vanilla extract, want to get fancy? Go for vanilla beans) (depending on ramekin size, serves 6)



  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1/2 tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
Directions: Pour heavy cream and vanilla into sauce pan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once it begins to bubble remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes. In the mean time whip together sugar and eggs until the mixture is a bright sunny yellow. After the cream and vanilla mixture cools, slowly pour into the egg mixture while whipping with a hand blender or kitchen aid mixer. Be careful not to scramble your eggs. Whip the mixture together until all is combined and there is a layer of foam on top. Place your ramekins in a baking dish, pour the egg/cream mixture evenly into ramekins. Fill the baking dish with hot water so the water comes halfway up the sides. Bake at 325 for 40 minutes or they are just a little jiggly in the middle. Allow them to cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours. When you are ready to serve coat the top of the creme brulee with a thin layer of sugar and either place under the broiler for 5 minutes at high heat or torch with a kitchen burner (this is W's job!) Then dive in for a spoonful of love! 

Until next week,
Laurel K. 
lkirksey@alz.org

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bringing Clinical Trials to the 21st Century

Dear Friends,
W and I went to see Dallas Buyer's Club, we were both intrigued by Matthew McConaughey's Golden Globe win.

After 10 minutes of ugly cry in the dark theater after the movie was over, W leaned over and said, LK it is ok, don't cry - HIV/AIDS isn't a death sentence anymore.

Selfishly, my tears were not for those suffering with AIDS, but for the thousands that I serve every day.

Alzheimer's is still a death sentence.

McConaughey's depiction of a man fighting the blackness of death was masterful. His fear, anger, pain, confusion and desperation was palpable.

Many have made parallels between the Alzheimer's and HIV/AIDS movements. I started to write at length about the HIV/AIDS advocacy movement - which has resulted in BILLIONS annually in disease specific research through NIH.

But one thing from the movie that I can't get off my mind are clinical trials.

The movie is set in the mid-late 1980's, and it dawned on me that public perception of clinical trials has changed very little since that time, despite dramatic changes in the industry.

Our advocacy and fundraising efforts to fund and support clinical trials and research will only go so far without participants. There are opportunities for healthy volunteers, caregivers, and individuals at all stages of Alzheimer's and dementia.

Last week during our annual Leadership Summit we learned about a number of clinical trials, including a prevention trial that needs to screen 10,000 individuals in order to glean 1,000. That is Alzheimer's prevention, it is difficult to convey enough excitement about this landmark study and others like it.

In Dallas Buyer's Club,  McConaughey happens to stumble into a hospital participating in a particular drug study. I can not emphasize enough, this is no longer the reality. To get matched to a clinical trial, all you need now is a computer or phone. Hello, we are in the 21st century - just like everything else - the power is in our own hands.

Alzheimer's Association TrialMatch, is a first of its kind clinical trial matching system - that connects willing volunteers to open and enrolling clinical trials. You may not be matched immediately, however, you never know when you will be needed.

Start a profile here ==> www.alz.org/trialmatch

From FDA Phase III fast track, to patient advocates sitting on FDA advisory councils, to world wide collaborations filling in the gaps of federal funding. It is time to come out of the 80's and take control of our participation in clinical trials.

You have one of the greatest Alzheimer's research tools at the tip of your fingers, for more information visit www.alz.org/research.

ALZNEWS

  • Early-Stage Alzheimer's: In March we will offer the Living with Alzheimer's series for individuals in the early-stage of Alzheimer's and their caregivers. The programs will be hosted in Charleston, Parkersburg, & Martinsburg. 
  • Advocacy Day: Join us February 18 for our last Advocacy Day at the WV Capitol. For more information call 800.272.3900 or email wvinfo@alz.org
  • Upcoming Community Workshops: Attend a community workshop! Click here to see a list. 
  • Walk to End Alzheimer's Planning Committees: Love Walk to End Alzheimer's? Love organizing events? We need you! Join one of our planning committees, for more information call 800.272.3900 or email wvinfo@alz.org
  • If you could do one thing from sunrise to sunset, what would it be? 
Never Use a Box Brownie Mix Again
It is Valentine's Day! Nothing says I love you like, rich delicious brownies. And these take the cake! While I can't promise you will never use a box again - but this recipe is so easy, you might not! 

I didn't change a single thing, so for the recipe I will just send you to the goddess of all home cooking, the Pioneer Woman's website! Click here for this delicious and amazing recipe! 

Until next week, 
Laurel K.
lkirksey@alz.org