WASHINGTON — Faith United Against Alzheimer’s – an UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Coalition mobilizing the faith community in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease – today announced that Volunteers of America has joined the Coalition, a positive step in acknowledging and confronting the devastation Alzheimer’s is wreaking in communities across the nation.
Volunteers of America joins ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s, the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, and the Balm in Gilead as members of the Coalition, which harnesses the powerful and ardent voices of leaders of all faiths and faith-based organizations to call for urgent action to advance the goals of better care, improved treatment, prevention and ultimately the realization of a cure.
“Alzheimer’s is a traumatic brain injury, one that causes a deep, life-long emotional and spiritual burden on all members of a family living with Alzheimer’s. The faith community is uniquely positioned to help guide families through this often agonizing journey,” said George Vradenburg, Co-Founder and Chairman of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “Volunteers of America understands this; Volunteers of America has deep connections to American families across in communities across the country; and Volunteers of America has decades of successful ministry to the most vulnerable among us, including those living with Alzheimer’s. They will be a powerful partner as we fight to draw hope and inspiration from the loving support American families provide to their loved ones living with this cruel disease.”
As one of the largest and most comprehensive human services organizations in the country, Volunteers of America works to tackle a myriad of urgent issues facing the most underserved people in our communities. As a “church without walls,” the organization’s ministry includes services for children and families, the formerly incarcerated, veterans and older adults. Volunteers of America’s interfaith approach and deep commitment to those in urgent need in our society will amplify the work of the Faith Coalition, educating and supporting community leaders and families facing Alzheimer’s, and advocating for a cure.
Alzheimer’s is the only leading cause of death with no treatment, prevention or cure. The number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s is expected to triple by 2050, devastating families financially and emotionally, and placing a heavy burden on women, African Americans and Latinos, who are more likely to have the disease.
“Caring for the needs of those with memory loss grants us an extraordinary opportunity to share Volunteers of America’s ministry of service, as well as to raise the standard for delivery of compassionate memory support care,” said Volunteers of America National President and CEO Mike King. “Joining forces with Faith United Against Alzheimer’s allows us share and learn from other peer organizations, enhancing the quality of service we provide to our residents and their families.”
The Faith United Against Alzheimer’s Coalition believes that Alzheimer’s disease presents a moral imperative at a scale commensurate to the grave and growing threat it presents to our nation. Volunteers of America is addressing the needs of Alzheimer’s caregivers through its Moral Injury efforts focused on “moral stress” experienced by caregivers. This work is based on Volunteers of America’s work with struggling veterans and offers a chance to heal the invisible wounds to the soul.
“Volunteers of America has begun a national conversation on the emotional toll that Alzheimer’s takes on caregivers, those living with dementia and families. Drawing on its innovative Moral Injury efforts for veterans, the organization has put the needs of caregivers front and center,” said Virginia Biggar, Executive Director of the Faith United Against Alzheimer’s Coalition. “The Faith Coalition looks forward to supporting this powerful program and working with Volunteers of America to find solutions for families coping with this devastating disease.”