President’s Remarks from the 2017, 3rd Annual Fundraising Dinner
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to use this great opportunity to welcome everyone to this our Third Anniversary event of United Managed Care, Alzheimer’s Support Group.
I am so honored by your presence here in support of the Cause for Caregivers, and I speak on behalf of all the members of this group who have dedicated their time and effort to make this event possible. We want to welcome you, our honored guests for coming to share this night with us and I hope you will enjoy the program we have in store for you. Our host, the Moose lodge and its dedicated staff welcomes you with their usual hospitality and the great meal prepared by their Chef and staff. I want to say a special welcome to our keynote speaker who will introduced to you shortly.
Welcome to our own Tamarac Mayor, Harry Dressler who will also give us his blessings, he was with us from our first Dinner Event two years ago. Welcome every one of you here, and if I may mention three really special guests who have traveled a great distance to be here, Mr. Keith Morris, a childhood friend, traveled from Jamaica to be here with me, Mr. Leonard Brown, and all the way from Phoenix ‘Arizona, over six hours to be with us is Mr. Glen Fullerton. Welcome. I will only say that you as well as these 3 friends are here because you recognize how important is the role of Caregivers in this dreaded disease called Alzheimer’s. My time allotted here is almost exhausted, so I invite you to read my message in the magazine, about our goals and objectives, and help us in whatever way you can to accomplish some if not all, in the fight to help caregivers. Again, thank you for being here tonight, please sit back, relax and enjoy the evening. Mr. Randy Bedard will now guide us through this wonderful program in store.
Three years ago, when I was introduced to UMCASG and invited to become a part of the organization, I didn't know much about Alzheimer's, despite the fact that I had relatives who had succumbed to the disease and some who were living with the disease. I was just out of school and therefore had some extra time to devote to a good cause, so I figured, why not. Little did I know then, that Alzheimer's was already at my front door and would reach home within the first year of being involved with UMCASG. This disease is impartial to no one and when it hits, sometimes close relatives have no choice but to fill the gap as caregivers.
I had suddenly become one of the over 15 million Americans who provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. In 2016, these caregivers provided an estimated 18.2 billion hours of care valued at over $230 billion. Thirty-five percent (35%) of these caregivers report that their health has gotten worse due to care responsibilities, compared to caregivers for older people without dementia. This is where UMCASG comes in.
People hear the word, "Alzheimer's" and for most, it simply means forgetfulness. However, it is so much more than not remembering. There are so many different facets to this disease. UMCASG is here to educate and to bring awareness of this disease to as many people that we can reach. In addition, we want to make certain that the caregivers are aware of all the resources available to ensure that they are not stressed and remain healthy; without the caregiver the patient is doomed. Alzheimer's caregivers frequently report experiencing high levels of stress. It is overwhelming to take care of a loved one with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, but too much stress is counter-productive. If you as a caregiver experience signs of denial, anger, social withdrawal, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, sleeplessness, irritability, lack of concentration, or health problems, please talk to your doctor.
UMCASG is here to help direct the Caregiver in the right direction to overcome some of these obstacles, and we do this by providing seminars and workshops geared toward the caregiver. Experienced speakers from the Alzheimer's Association, as well as the University of Miami Research Department, and Broward Health have all brought informative information in an enlightening manner to the attendees. Through these seminars and workshops, Caregivers learn the Community Resources that are available, where to get and find support, relaxation techniques, become an educated caregiver, how to take care of themselves, and the importance of having their loved ones make legal and financial plans.
We also set aside time for fun and time to exhale. We had a BINGO night, a Birthday Celebration, and a Barbecue. Of course, every event consisted of games, food, and dancing. Through it all, we strive to release the stress through these fun activities.
We have big plans for 2018. We plan to reach twice as many Caregivers through our Seminars and Workshops. There is no cost to attend these events and a meal is provided. We also hope to add an additional seminar bringing to total to four per year. Another goal is to financially support at least five Caregivers in respite care. Last year we were able to help one family achieve this goal. That's a start. In 2018 we will work toward helping 5 families, and build that number by 5 each year for the next 5 years. A portion of the funds we receive from the Dinner and Dance on October 28th, will be dedicated to this cause.