The Alzheimer’s Assn. To Celebrate Caregivers

By Judy Carmack Bross



“Everyone will either be a caregiver or be cared for by a caregiver in their lifetime.” First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

The frontlines role of caregivers who change their lives to care for the people they love, was underscored by the tributes coming in to honor former First Lady Rosalynn Cart. Until her retirement, she was President of the Board of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers which worked for the well-being of family caregivers by building cross-sector partnerships, leading research projects and strategic initiatives, developing and implementing evidence-based programs, and advocating for public policy.  Maria Shriver, who worked closely with the articulate activist on helping caregivers dealing with patients with Alzheimer’s, paid tribute this week to Carter’s elevating the role of caregivers who “work in the dark and often with very limited resources.”

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter

It is with a beautiful serendipity that November is National Caregivers Month and that the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter here in Chicago announced this month that it will honor caregivers Tuesday, March 19 at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago with “The Power of Purple: A Reason to Hope Luncheon”. This event will also recognize leaders in the fight to end Alzheimer’s by bringing together corporations, foundations and individuals to raise critical funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research as a new era of treatment begins.

At kickoff event: (from L to R) Board Member and past IWCA Chair Michelle Carlson, IWCA Member Ellen Masuret, Board Member Marty Wilke, Board Member and IWCA Chair Carol Shaw Burns, Rachel Roberts

Through the end of November nominations are being accepted for the annual Caregiver Awards to be presented at the March luncheon. There are two categories: family and friends who care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia or professional caregivers, including healthcare professionals, caregivers in healthcare facilities, and other related positions.  The awardees will be chosen by the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter’s Illinois Women Conquer Alz (IWCA) committee.

Barry Masek, Co-Chair of the luncheon, told us:

“The business sector needs to comprehend the challenges faced when employees are providing care for loved ones with dementia. Those who take on this responsibility deserve special consideration, not only in terms of time but also medical expenses. There is urgency for support and funding to advance research, care, and awareness initiatives.”

Masek told us that the business case to fight Alzheimer’s is underscored by compelling numbers that highlight the significant economic impact of this disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2023, Alzheimer’s and other dementias are projected to cost the nation a staggering $345 billion, a financial burden that could escalate to nearly $1 trillion by 2050. In Illinois alone, caregivers contributed an astounding 481 million hours of unpaid care in 2022, valuing at $9.8 billion. Across the nation, more than 11 million Americans dedicate their time to unpaid caregiving for individuals with Alzheimer’s. The economic toll extends to the workforce, with six in ten caregivers maintaining employment while dedicating an average of 35 hours per week to caregiving responsibilities. The statistics further reveal the strain on working caregivers, as 57 percent adjust their work schedules to accommodate caregiving demands, 18 percent transition from full-time to part-time employment, and 9 percent are compelled to leave the workforce entirely.

Luncheon Co-chair, Francee Harrington stated, “Our hope for the upcoming luncheon is to shed light on these issues and share information about the recent research innovations and medications that can truly make a difference.”

Other luncheon Co-Chairs are:  Marta Cerda, Jaime DiPaulo, Perri Irmer, and Donovan Pepper.

 Aimee Nolan the immediate past Board Chair of the Illinois chapter and Vice President, Associate General Counsel | W.W. Grainger, Inc. told us:

“My ‘why’ for being involved is that my mother was diagnosed with young onset Alzheimer’s when she was 55 and lost her battle at the age of 62. I am proud that this year Grainger team members chose to sponsor Chicago Walk through our Business Resource Groups.  Many of my colleagues expressed their appreciation for the Alzheimer’s Association support because they have been personally impacted by this terrible disease and know the toll it takes on caregivers.”

Aimee Nolan with her husband Mike and her mother Betsy

Alzheimer’s Walk

Delia Jervier, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter, emphasized the significance of supporting caregivers, saying, “Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is overwhelming for many caregivers here in Illinois. However, there is support and resources available, including local support groups, education programs, and our 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900). No one should face this disease alone, and the Alzheimer’s Association is here to help.”

To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and to find local support services and resources, please visit

Nominations for the Caregivers Award are due by the end of November. Award winners will be selected in January.  To nominate a caretaker, go to

If you are interested in  joining IWCA,  the host committee or getting your company involved, please contact Katie Lane,

For more information on the March 19 luncheon visit: