Since Dr G’s referral for a therapist for Miss Cathy didn’t work out my next call was to Maureen Charlton, the Helpline Program Coordinator of the Fairfax, Virginia Alzheimer’s Association® National Capital Area Chapter.
The Alzheimer’s Association is a wonderful organization and I highly recommend them to anyone who has been touched by the disease. They have a wealth of resources and information.
The first thing I was grateful for was that they helped me to realize that I was not alone.
Their mission statement reads; “The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research”.
But (like everything in life) I have found it best not to depend on them completely and to think of them as just ‘one’ of your resources and not the ‘only’ one.
After talking to Maureen and explaining what I needed she emailed a list of doctors and therapists.
Unfortunately, as I learned a couple of years ago when I requested a list of ‘Elder Lawyers’ (no, not ‘old lawyers’, rather ‘lawyers’ that specialized in legal issues for the ‘old) I’ve learned that Alz.org’s information and referrals are not always up to date or current.
I found more than ½ dozen of the physicians on the list that she gave me for referrals was outdated.
Was I mad (no), did I get frustrated (yes) but considering the help that they’d already given me and the fact they were mostly a volunteer organization where everybody was doing their best I couldn’t ‘not’ cut them some slack.
Besides, they were kind enough to feature my journey with Miss Cathy as part of there “World Alzheimer’s Day Story Project” in 2011.
So, I took it upon my self to compile my own list of names that needed to be deleted from their list and emailed it to Maureen.
But, that still left me with more than enough professionals to contact so I got work.
As I worked my way down the list of doctors and therapist that were available to me I had to consider the very real possibility that this could all be a huge waste of time. I mean lets face it, I was looking for a therapist to help someone with problems that she might not remember having let alone remembering the solutions once she got up off the couch.
But, if Miss Cathy thought therapy might help then it seemed to me to be worth the effort to find her a good doctor, no matter the outcome.
Later that day I received an email from Maureen. She couldn’t have been more apologetic and wrote ”We do make every effort to keep our lists as accurate as possible, but as you can imagine, we cover a large territory and things change”.
She said that she was very appreciative of the info, but for me not to feel obligated, she knew that I had a lot on my plate already.
I wrote back that I knew they were doing their best and I was happy that I could help.
I just wanted to make sure that they updated their system so that another caregiver (or heaven forbid) a person with Alzheimer didn’t spend the day as I had trying to contact doctors that were either no longer in practice, had moved or in one other case needed to be removed for an entirely different reason.