Jim McAleer, President & CEO of Alzheimer’s Orange County
Meet Jim McAleer, the president, and CEO of Alzheimer's Orange County, for the past eighteen years he has been a dynamic community leader, changing lives by advocating for and actively helping thousands of people living with dementia and their families. Since 1982, Alzheimer’s Orange County has been working hard to provide quality care and support services to the thousands of local residents affected by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
1. What is Alzheimer’s disease and what does Alzheimer’s Orange County do to help?
Alzheimer’s disease–the most common form of dementia– is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly impairs memory and cognitive skills, and eventually the ability to carry out even the simplest tasks. Science still hasn’t given a definitive answer to what causes it, but it is believed that multiple factors may contribute to the risk of developing the disease. Currently, there is no cure – but there is hope.
Alzheimer’s Orange County (AlzOC) provides life-changing programs, support services, and advocacy for those living with memory loss including older adults and frail seniors, and those who care for them. We lead the charge with brain health and dementia education, care consultations, community connections, adult day health centers, services in multiple languages and much more. Every year we're honored to change the lives of over 30,000 people.
2. Why is Alzheimer’s affecting Orange County?
Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death for older adults in the nation but is the 3rd leading cause of death in older adults in Orange County. Over 84,000 people live with the disease today and nearly 12% of adults aged 65 and are believed to have Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia in the county. That percentage is higher than the state and national averages, partly due to our aging population and partly due to ethnic diversity in the County.
Behind those numbers are thousands of real people, real families dealing with healthcare, social, emotional and financial challenges. Until there is a cure, we provide support for those affected.
3. Is there anything people can do to reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia?
Work on protecting your brain health and reducing your risk regardless of your age. Making adjustments in your life to ensure you’re getting enough quality sleep, eating well (Mediterranean diets and other heart-healthy diets) and staying physically and socially active are just a few ways you can work towards living a brain-healthy lifestyle. Our brain health program, MindFit OC, found at www.alzoc.org, can help you get started.
4. Alzheimer’s OC is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Can you tell us more about that?
In 1982, Alzheimer’s Orange County, originally known as Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association of Orange County, began making a difference. The group started organizing support groups, offering educational information, and giving referrals to help those in need. Many people played an important role in developing these services and expanding the organization’s impact early on. Over time that collective spirit and collaboration enhanced what we could do to benefit others. As time has passed, we’ve taken steps to evolve into a multifaceted independent nonprofit organization that is focused on serving more people in more ways through our family of programs.
The need remains great, but it has always been our task to meet the challenges we face by offering the tools, training, and technology blended with care and compassion to connect caregivers with the help they need.
If you’ve started to notice cognitive changes or memory loss, don’t hesitate to contact us. Remember, the earlier you get support, the better. We have trained experts standing by, ready to provide personalized and individual support appropriate for your situation. An official diagnosis isn’t necessary for you to start exploring our resources.
5. How can people in need of your services or interested in supporting your efforts get involved?
There are over 100,000 caregivers in Orange County who care for someone with memory loss. That means there are still many out there who are facing dementia alone and need a helping hand. Together we can help.
Supporting our efforts can be done in a multitude of ways. Referrals, advocacy, volunteering or simply trying to better understand Alzheimer’s and the issues connected to it are all great ways to be involved.
We also have multiple giving options and fundraising events to fit every person’s and organization’s giving plans. However you give, every dollar makes a difference and 100% of your contribution stays right here in Orange County.
To learn more about Alzheimer's Orange County or to make a donation, please click on www.alzoc.org, or call today.