Bob Le Roy, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association, Washington State Chapter, talks about Alzheimer’s research being done, particularly in the Seattle area at the University of Washington, Kaiser Permanente, the Veteran’s Administration and even the NFL.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
And Welcome back to answers for elders. Everyone, we are here with a very special guest, Mr Bob Leroy, from he is the executive director of the Seattle Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Bob, welcome to the program thank you so pleased to be here. You know, I’m glad you’re here too, because you guys do such amazing work and you know we’ve had you on the show one time before and and you know, some of the things that you share just blows my mind. As far as you know where we are with with the with Alzheimer’s and the fact that you know, you shared about one and every three deaths in this country are related to alzheimers. Is that correct? We’re coming to that point. Yes, as the as the scope of the disease continues to increase really significantly with each passing year. You know, I’d like to talk today a little bit about research for Alzheimer’s. I know that every day they’re making, you know, new revelations and we’re hearing things on you know, get on the new you know the media. Well, if you do this, you have a higher risk of getting Alzheimer’s or things like that. But there’s probably a lot of quantifiable and non quantifiable studies out there. What kind of information can and you stare with us today. Well, I can share that that we’re very excited about the state of the science. But we also have to admit that we are not yet at a point where we’re nearing a breakthrough that allows us to more effectively treat the disease prevented ultimately curate. Most of what we know about Alzheimer’s Disease We’ve learned in the last twenty five years. I mean among chronic diseases, very new. This is new and I will say that we are very fortunate here in the Seattle Metropolitan area there’s some really important cutting edge research of being done right here. The ansign yes, the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the University of Washington is is actively engaged in a number of studies and trials. Group health, now a kaiser, has a long history of doing Alzheimer’s and dementia research in this in this region. That’s the Veterans Administration in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. So there’s a lot of great work being done here and I’m sure that you know. I personally have worked a little bit with the NFL and I know they’ve they’re doing a lot in as far as you know, head injuries and how that relates to Alzheimer’s demensia as well. They are they’re becoming more open to informing and educating and participating in programs to increase concern and awards about the disease and and also in the research well. And I think for those of us that are longtime football fans, a lot of us get frustrated because they’re on concussion protocol and they take people out of the game that we met. But it’s important. It’s it’s very important that we do whatever we can to preserve that, you know, from headhengder injury. Absolutely, yeah. So what is you know, when you say great things in Seattle, tell me a little bit about what makes we have this great studies. Do we have some public policies as well in the city? Well, not so much in the city, okay, but advocacy in public policy at the state and federal level are real priorities for us, and really for two reasons. First of all, there are far too many people, individuals, families, whole communities in this country who know next to nothing about about the scope and impact of the disease, but also where to find information education. Hell, it’s overwhelming. Yeah, and it’s so and it’s so daunting because, you know, there’s all kinds of people that may say, Oh, I’m an Alzheimer’s expert. Well, you know, I think even somebody like you, what defines an expert when we only have twenty five years worth the knowledge? Yeah, it’s a fair question. My point about about advocacy in public policy is a part of it is, at both the federal and state level, a driving campaigns to inform and educate more people about what’s really going on and more help can be found. The other critical element, particularly at the federal level, is driving more federal dollars to Alzheimer’s research. Wonderful, it’s you know, we’re very encouraged. We have some real momentum there, but we are still short of what the experts tell us is needed. The folks at the National Institutes of health who guide chronic disease research in this country utilizing federal dollars, tell us they need at least two billion dollars a year to effectively move Alzheimer’s research forward. Wow, we now have a commitment of about one point four billion a year and that’s very, very exciting for us because that commitment of federal dollars specifically to Alzheimer’s research has doubled, and that’s federal, federal dollars. So it’s so obviously you also do Alzheimer’s walks as well. We do fundraising, we do our walks really are very important, again for two reasons. The first is we raise a significant amount of money. About a third of our overall budget comes from our walks and we find sixteen of them. Well, we will definitely be promoting your way on this program thank you so much. The other reason why the walks are so important to us is they get our message out and communities. They bring people together. It’s a wonderful experience. I hope you can join us for one of the walks because you’ll see individuals and families, many of whom have participated for many, many years, many of whom continue to participate even though they’ve lost a loved one to the disease, and and it’s really quite inspiring to be in the company of we are. We’re hoping for about Threezo at our Seattle Walk. It’s on September twenty four this year at Seattle Center. And do you have them walks elsewhere? We do. We have a total of sixteen and if you’ll give me a chance to mention our website, yes, I will that solutely. Website is www dot Alz wa allswa dot Org. You know, I know a dear friend of mine that we’ve talked about is Joe Tafoya. He has actually a team and he’s going to be doing it and that’s what I love about this is there so many organizations that are putting teams together and to raise money for the cause and of course, Joe Tafoya himself is he’s a dealing with his mom who has ears early onset Alzheimer’s, and so he’s been such a wonderful really ambassador to your organization and he also has been so benefited from all of that you have done. He’s talked about that on our program well, we appreciate that and champions like like Joe, of course, makes such a difference in getting our message out for folks who are interested. If you go to our website you’ll get a complete list and details of all sixteen walks and it’s very easy to register and that’s great. And you could join a team as whenever team that you’d like to join. You can join a team, you can start a team. I’m sure you could join joy’s team. He’d be thrilled. Oh, he would be. Yeah, that’s for sure. A lot of twelves out there, you know. Yep, and so we are talking everyone to Mr Bob Leroy, he’s the executive director of the Seattle Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and I am curious. Obviously we just been through an election. We’ve got elected officials out there. You know, what’s your role in government in and getting them on board? We have a an extraordinary group of volunteer advocates and we have a year round program of outreach and engagement to we have teams of advocates that work with members of Congress both in DC and at home in district. We also are are doing a lot of outreach in Olympia. Two members of our state legislature. We have an advocacy day in Olympia every year. That’s coming up on February ninth. Last year we had a hundred and sixteen meetings wow members and staff. And you know, we’ve developed some real champions in the legislature. We actually had folks who told US look, call we’re in session, to call us out. We want to talk, we want to tell and here’s the thing. I am betting there’s a lot of people in our government right now, in our state legislature, that are dealing with parents or loved ones with Alzheimer’s. No question, both at the federal and the state and, I dare say, the local level. In fact, as we as we continue to build relationships with members of Congress and members of the legislature, it is it is seldom, if ever, that we begin a conversation with someone who has no hasn’t been touched by the disease in the family, in the extended work family. More and more constituents coming forward every year to their elected officials and asking for help. Yes, I will tell you too that at the state level we’re very involved as part of a wonderful collaboration to implement recommendations in a plan that we helped write just a couple of years ago, the very first Washington State plan to address Alzheimer’s Disease and other images. Yes, and where we’re we’re moving to full implementation of some of the recommendations in that plan, for example, where I hope just a few days away from being able to distribute a wonderful road map for caregivers. It only is a it’s a glimpse of the journey, yes, and what might lie ahead if you, if you are caring for a loved one with with Alzheimer’s. That is so important and it’s I swear you know I mean there’s a lot of family caregivers out there that work a thankless job and sometimes, in many cases, it’s even harder with a loved one with the mentor Alzheimer’s, because every day it’s different. You don’t know what’s going to happen. It is and you know, we do some surveys of the caregivers that we work with and about seventy percent of them will tell us that that the level of stress in their lives has increased significantly, sure as they’ve taken on the burden of carrying absolutely absolutely so, Bob, how do we reach you and how can we help you? Those are two things. You can reach us by calling our toll free helpline at eight hundred two, seven, two three, thousand nine hundred, eight hundred two seven two three thousand nine hundred or again, our website, www dot alz wa dot org. You can help us by letting US help you, anyone in your family or in your neighborhood, and you can help us by registering joining us at one of our walks. Well, Bob, thank you so much for being on the program and we look forward to having you back soon. I would look forward to it as well. Thank you so much. Thank you
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.