We hear you

June 2, 2022

Join us for a free breakfast to share your voice

By: Diane Beckley Milner

Memory loss is not a normal part of aging

To see signs of memory loss in a loved one is a difficult situation for thousands of Wisconsin families. In the black community we have the utmost respect for our elders and it’s hard for an adult child to talk with their parent or grandparent if they see signs of memory loss.

As we celebrate Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness in June, we know black Americans are twice as likely as whites to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association is hosting a free breakfast the month to discuss overcoming the stigma around dementia in the black community. Dementia is not a normal part of aging and it will not go away on its own with time. As a previous caregiver for my mother, it was important for me to be prepared for the progression of the disease and how it was going to impact our lives.

Why it falls to the bottom of the list

I talk with people every day about services provided by the Alzheimer’s Association and our partners in the community. Many times, people just aren’t able to take advantage of services. Tell me if you can see yourself in any of these:

• My parent doesn’t want to go to the doctor and I want to be respectful of their wishes.
• I’m just overwhelmed and don’t have time to look in to resources.
• My first priority is keeping food on the table and bills paid.
• It takes too long to find resources – I just can’t make it a priority.
• There’s going to be extra expense for services – there always is – and we don’t have the money.
• My loved one is struggling and I don’t want to be selfish and try to find support for myself.

One conversation

I know the list is long of why you don’t take advantage of services, but I invite you to have a conversation with someone at the Alzheimer’s Association; at least one conversation. This time could help open up a world of resources which can fit into your busy life. Education, support, funds from grants and knowledge could be the difference in making it a good day or a bad day in your life with your loved one. Our 24/7 Helpline 800.272.3900 is also always there to field questions or offer solutions.

Here’s your chance to let us know what you need

On June 10, 2022, there will be a listening session for the black community about challenges for caregivers. Our goal is to learn how we can adapt to meet your needs. Gina Green-Harris, Director at the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute will lead a portion of the discussion. A free breakfast will be served along with valet parking. The event is being brought to you by the Alzheimer’s Association, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute, The Milwaukee Times and Ascension Living. Join us and have that conversation with Alzheimer’s Association staff about opportunities to support you.

June 10 – 8:00-10:00 a.m. Ascension Living Alexian Village – 9301 N. 76th St., Milwaukee, WI.

Register at bit.ly/DementiaforumJune10 or by calling 800.272.3900.

Diane Beckley Milner is the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Alzheimer’s Association Wisconsin Chapter.