Illinois Cognitive Resources Network

Connecting to resources throughout your dementia journey

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Register Now For Northwestern Alzheimer Day!

Registration Now Open
Join us for our annual Alzheimer Day as we return to a fully in-person event. Northwestern Alzheimer Day was established to showcase Alzheimer’s research conducted throughout Northwestern and to bring this information to the community. Attendees will have the opportunity to connect with community members, and researchers over lunch and through the presentation of research posters.
Following the Poster Session and Lunch, Dr. Lisa Barnes will provide our Mendelson Lecture. The afternoon session will include a celebration of the Glen & Wendy Miller Family Buddy Program’s 25 year history.
Register to Attend

Thursday, May 5, 2022
11:30 AM – 4:00 PM Central
Poster Session and Lunch
Learn about current research endeavors, including the latest cognitive aging, dementia and neuroscience research at Northwestern University by Northwestern clinicians and scientists. Lunch provides an opportunity for scientists and interested members of the community to exchange scientific information and research.

Mendelson Lecture
Lisa Barnes, PhD
The Alla V. and Solomon Jesmer
Professor of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine
Department of Neurological Sciences,
Rush Medical College
Neuropsychologist, Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center


Quality of Life Symposium
Sponsored by the Glen and Wendy Miller Family Foundation
A celebration of the Glen and Wendy Miller Family Buddy Program’s 25-year history.
Followed by Q&A Discussion

For questions, please contact
COVID-19 Safety Acknowledgement: Northwestern is closely monitoring developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and will follow local, state, and University guidelines for this event. All attendees will be required to have been fully vaccinated or have received a negative COVID test within 24 hours of the event start, as well as comply with all other University safety protocols that are in place at the time of the event. Participants unwilling or unable to abide by these requirements should not attend.

Cataract Removal Linked to a Reduction in Dementia Risk

An NIA-supported study found that undergoing cataract removal was associated with a lower risk of developing dementia among older adults.

Researchers analyzed data from a subset of participants from the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study. Participants were 65 years or older, dementia-free at the start of the study, and diagnosed with cataracts before the onset of dementia.

Researchers found that participants who underwent cataract removal surgery had a nearly 30% lower risk of developing dementia compared with participants without surgery, even after controlling for numerous additional demographic and health risks. In comparison, glaucoma surgery, which doesn’t restore vision, did not have a significant association with dementia risk.

Read more about the research study on NIA’s website.

🎵“You gotta keep your head up” | Andy Grammer to Keynote MHA’s 2022 Annual Conference

Mental Health America (MHA) is excited to announce that multi-platinum pop artist Andy Grammer will take the main stage at our 2022 Annual Conference: Forward Together: Recovery, Healing, Hope, June 9-11.

Andy Grammer has carved out a prolific pop presence with an impressive catalog of bona fide platinum hits — including “Honey, I’m Good,” “Keep Your Head Up,” “Fresh Eyes,” and “Don’t Give Up On Me.” 

His observations and affirmations pick you back up when you need it, assert your potential, and encourage you to keep going. He’s found incredible success as a musician and is recognized across the world.

After being forced by COVID-19 to slow down his busy and high-energy schedule, Andy had to come to terms with his mental health in a way that he hadn’t before. The mental health struggles that Andy faced has inspired his new music and added a new layer to the deep connection he has with his fans.

Join us Thursday, June 9, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. EDT for an evening with Andy Grammer, as he engages, energizes, and empowers attendees on Day One of MHA’s 2022 Annual Conference. This event will be livestreamed.

Save your spot and register today! Virtual and in-person registration options are available. 

Register Now

Join the Virtual Screening: Shifting The Narrative: The Story of Lorenzo’s House

Lorenzo’s House was founded on one single love story – amid thousands, about how a younger-onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis touches a family. When you are younger living with Alzheimer’s there is a massive misunderstanding and resource gap that leaves families isolated and stigmatized. At Lorenzo’s House we share our stories as a way to fill this gap and empower families. Together we shift this narrative from isolation to connection, sorrow to joy and darkness to light.

Join us on Tuesday, May 3rd from 5-6pm CST for our premiere virtual screening of the short film, Shifting the Narrative: The Story of Lorenzo’s House. This screening will be accompanied by a panel discussion comprised of caregivers and experts from UChicago Medicine – The Memory Center, Northwestern MedicineMesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology & Alzheimer’s Diseasee, Advocate Aurora Health – Advocate Memory Center, Rush University Medical CenterAlzheimer’s Disease Center, and Embodied Labs – who will exchange insights about the challenges and hopes for families living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Click here to RSVP Today!

How Can I Stay Connected with an Aging Parent or Relative from Far Away?

Try to find people who live near your loved one and can provide a realistic view of what is going on. This may be your other parent. A social worker may be able to provide updates and help with making decisions. Many families schedule conference calls with doctors, the assisted living facility team, or nursing home staff so that several relatives can be in one conversation and get the same up-to-date information about health and progress.

Make yourself a priority, too: Tips for caregivers infographic icon. Click through for full text.
Read and share this infographic to learn how to find time for yourself while caregiving.

Don’t underestimate the value of a phone and email contact list. It is a simple way to keep everyone updated on your parents’ needs.

You may also want to give the person you care for a cell phone (and make sure he or she knows how to use it). Or, if your family member lives in a nursing home, consider having a private phone line installed in his or her room. Program telephone numbers of doctors, friends, family members, and yourself into the phone, and perhaps provide a list of the speed-dial numbers to keep with the phone. Such simple strategies can be a lifeline. But try to be prepared should you find yourself inundated with calls from your parent.

Learn about geriatric care managers and how they may be able to support you and your family in your role as caregivers.

Data shows racial disparities in Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis between Black and white research study participants

Black participants in Alzheimer’s disease research studies were 35% less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and related dementias than white participants, despite national statistics that indicate that Black Americans are overall about twice as likely to develop dementias than whites. The analysis of data on study participants from across NIA’s network of Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers (ADRCs) also showed that Black participants with Alzheimer’s and related dementias had more risk factors for the disease, as well as greater cognitive impairment and symptom severity than white participants. Results of the study were published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia.Older adult Black couple, smiling for the camera

Previous studies have shown that for the overall U.S. population, Black Americans are roughly 1.5 to 2 times as likely than whites to develop Alzheimer’s and related dementias. For the current study, investigators wanted to further explore if there were also related racial differences in cognition, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and functional abilities in diagnosed study participants. The researchers tracked 15 years of data (2005-2020) on 5,700 Black and 31,225 white participants using the Uniform Data Set of the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC), which aggregates data from ADRCs from across the country. At baseline visits, the data showed that 26.8% of Black participants were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or related dementias, as opposed to 36.1% of white participants. The analysis also showed that Black participants had 35% lower odds of having an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis at the initial visit relative to white participants.

Click here to continue reading:

Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease: A Resource List

Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease occurs between a person’s 30s to mid-60s. It is rare, representing less than 10 percent of all people who have Alzheimer’s. People with this disorder are younger than those with late-onset Alzheimer’s and face different issues, such as dealing with disability at work, raising children, and finding the right support groups.

This resource list offers a selection of materials that may help people with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, their families, and caregivers. All of the resources on this list are free and accessible online.

Visit the National Institute on Aging’s (NIA’s) Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral Center for free publicationscaregiving resources, and more information about Alzheimer’s.

The items on this list are organized by these categories:

Click here to continue reading

Setting Goals to be More Active Slows Memory Decline in Older African Americans

Older African Americans with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who got help setting goals to be more socially, physically, or cognitively active had slower memory decline than those who did not receive such help, concludes an NIA-funded study published Sept. 10 in JAMA Neurology. The results point to a possible way to reduce dementia risk in African Americans, who are more likely than whites to develop the condition.

Past studies suggest that a more active lifestyle may help prevent cognitive decline, but few of these studies have included African Americans. MCI—a condition in which people have more memory problems than normal for their age—often, but not always, leads to memory loss and other signs of dementia.

In the study by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, 221 African Americans age 65 and older with MCI (average age, 76 years; 79 percent female) were randomly assigned to one of two interventions, and 164 completed the trial. One group received “behavioral activation,” in which community health workers helped them choose goals to be more active, then develop step-by-step action plans. Goals included, for example, relearning how to play chess or rejoining a church group. The control group received “supportive therapy,” conversations with community health workers that did not involve setting goals. Both groups had 11 one-on-one, in-home sessions with African-American community health workers, with each session lasting 1 hour, over 2 years.

Click here to continue reading:

Want to Improve Your Sleep Habits?

Sleep is important for your body. It can affect many different aspects of your well-being, ranging from brain and heart health to overall energy levels and your ability to fight off disease. If you wake up tired, feel easily annoyed, have trouble falling asleep, or have trouble staying asleep, these may be signs you’re not getting a good night’s sleep.

For tips on how to improve your sleep habits, download or order this free booklet, Sleep and Older Adults: How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep.