Friday, June 26, 2015

“My Father, the Yankee Fan”

My late father, Ronald Henry Paquette, was a huge baseball fan. Having been held by The “Great Bambino” when he was just a baby, I guess he was destined to become a life-long fan!  

Since my great Aunt Alice worked for the Jacob Ruppert Brewery when my dad was young, she had met many of the Yankee greats of the day. She invited Babe Ruth to their home in Yonkers on several occasions. According to my uncle, “he would pull up in that big Packard of his and all the neighborhood kids would run out to see him.” These stories and experiences would instill a love of the team and an excitement of the game in my dad’s life. As a young man, he loved to play with the kids in his neighborhood, and was a pretty good catcher, from what I’m told.

Although he never played on an organized team himself, he always loved to watch the games on TV and rarely—if ever—missed one. Sadly though, in his later life as his dementia progressed, he began to lose the ability to focus and understand. He was confused with the commercials or as he called them “the mini movies” that kept interrupting the games.

As time went on and it was apparent that he no longer had a concept or understanding of what he was watching, we kept the games on in hopes that he would at least have some joy. Unfortunately, that spark of enthusiasm and passion for the game had long since left his eyes. Regrettably, my dad also never had the chance to see a game in the new stadium. He would have loved that. At that point though, it was just too hard for him to get around. Also, it would make him far too anxious to be away from home for that amount of time. It was so heartbreaking to see my strong father being slowly stolen away from all the things he loved.

When I heard that the Yankees were hosting a game on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association, I knew I had to attend. What a fitting tribute to attend a game at the beautiful new stadium on behalf of my own baseball hero. Thank you, New York Yankees and the Alzheimer’s Association, for hosting such an event and giving those of us affected by this disease the chance to honor our loved ones.

--Nancy Ellen Paquette

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Blondes vs. Brunettes® – it’s personal for them

From Michelle LaFond, 2nd year Brunette player:

Dear Family and Friends,

Alzheimer’s disease is the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death. An estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with the disease and nearly 15 million are acting as caregivers. It’s time to take action and change the course of this epidemic!  As you all know, my grandmother was afflicted with this disease for the last years of her life.  It is a hideous disease that absolutely needs a cure.
Michelle & Gram
It's in honor of my Gram that I am taking the field once again with the Blondes vs. Brunettes®, a nationwide women’s flag-football league created to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association. My teammates and I are training and preparing for game day, but win or lose, our true goal is a world without Alzheimer’s.  Game day for the Westchester branch will be April 25 at New Rochelle High School in New Rochelle, NY.  If you are available, please come watch! It's definitely worth a few laughs (me playing football that is!). 

I need your support to do my part! My goal is to raise $1000 to support research efforts.  If you are able, please make a donation to help the Alzheimer's Association advance research to discover methods of prevention, treatment and ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer’s. For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.

Thank you so much in advance for your generosity – together, we can tackle Alzheimer’s disease.

All the best, Michelle

From Rachel Hoffman, 2nd year Blonde player:

Alzheimer's Disease runs in my family – I lost my grandmother to it. I lost the ability to make new memories with her, I lost the ability to talk with her about the old ones, but most importantly she lost me. She became so ill that she no longer remembered who I was. She no longer remembered the time when I fell out of her tree in her backyard, when I would play around with her retro phone thinking it was the coolest thing in the world. She lost the memory of my yearly phone call asking if she wanted to buy Girl Scout Cookies.
Rachel's Grandmother
I now hold on to those memories and will forever cherish them. But it scares me that one day I could forget them - I could even forget who my loved ones are.
That’s why I’m taking the field with the Association Blondes vs. Brunettes®, a nationwide women’s flag-football league created to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association. My teammates and I are training and preparing for game day, but win or lose, our true goal is a world without Alzheimer’s.
I need your support to do my part! Please make a donation to help the Alzheimer's Association advance research to discover methods of prevention, treatment and ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer’s. For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.
Thank you in advance for your generosity – together, we can tackle Alzheimer’s disease.

Nominations Invited for Chapter Board

Nominations Invited for Chapter Board

The Alzheimer’s Association is the world leader in Alzheimer research and support.  It is the only national voluntary health agency dedicated to both research for the prevention, cure, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and to providing support and assistance to all affected.  The Hudson Valley, NY Chapter is an affiliate of the Association committed to carrying out the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association at the local level (in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester Counties).  It is registered in New York as a non-profit corporation and governed by a voluntary Board of Directors that is the driving force behind all of the Chapter’s activities. 

The Chapter’s Governance Committee is looking to identify individuals who may be interested in serving on the Board beginning in July, 2015, or in future years.  The Board is comprised of individuals with legal and fiduciary responsibilities to the Chapter and with responsibility for planning, creating, and implementing policy to carry out the Chapter’s goals and objectives, congruent with the mission of the National Alzheimer’s Association. 

Members of the Board of Directors serve for terms of two years, with no member serving more than three consecutive terms. The Board presently meets nine times per year (at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month), alternately in Tarrytown and in Fishkill, New York). 

To learn more about the local work of the Alzheimer’s Association, please see the chapter’s web site,  To learn more about our board member job description and our expectations of members of the board, click here. To nominate a candidate, or to express interest in this leadership role with the Alzheimer's Association, please contact Elaine Sproat, President & CEO, at 845.471.2655, or by May 1.  

Chapter Board Member Job Description


Director, Alzheimer's Association, Hudson Valley Chapter

Chairperson of the Board

The Chapter's Board is the driving force behind of all the Chapter's activities.  The Board is comprised of Directors with legal and fiduciary responsibilities to the Chapter and with responsibility for planning, creating, and implementing policy to carry out the Chapter's goals and objectives, congruent with the mission of the national Alzheimer's Association.

Two-year term, renewable twice, for a total of six continuous years. Board terms are staggered so no more than half the Board members begin a term in any one year.

-  Establish policy.
-  Generate funds in support of the organization.
-   Approve budget and monitor finances.
-   Select and support the Executive and review his or her
-  Support the Alzheimer's Association's Strategic Plan;
    provide input to the Chapter's Strategic Implementation
    Plan; and monitor the organization's programs and
- Contribute skills, knowledge, and experience to a chapter
-  Enhance the organization’s public image.
 Assess the Board’s performance.


We expect Board members:

  1. To include the Alzheimer's Association among their top charitable commitments.
  2. To demonstrate a strong commitment to the financial security of the organization, supporting it to the best of their ability through personal donations within their means, by walking and raising funds for one or more of the Chapter's five (5) Walk to End Alzheimer's® events, and by supporting the Chapter's other activities either directly or by solicitation and recruitment of others. It is expected that personal and solicited donations will satisfy the Chapter's give-or-get policy of at least $1,500 annually.
  3. To provide judgment in guiding the Chapter's strategies and policies to better serve people suffering with Alzheimer's and their caregivers.
  4. To provide input on critical issues through regular participation in Board meetings, including special meetings such as Board retreats, and through active service on at least one committee.
  5. To represent the Alzheimer's Association in the community by telling the Alzheimer's story and raising awareness of both the disease and the Alzheimer's Association's mission.
  6. To provide the Chapter with key contacts (individuals, corporations, and/or foundations) to improve our efforts in fundraising, public and community relations, political advocacy, and board development.
  7. To prepare for Board meetings by reviewing Board reports, minutes, and financial statements; respond promptly to Board communications; and notify the Chapter office when you are unable to attend meetings or events.
  8. To consider Board-related business as privileged information, to be treated confidentially.
  9. To avoid the substance or appearance of conflict of interest.
For further information, or to express interest in this volunteer leadership position, contact Elaine Sproat, President & CEO, at or 845.471.2655.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Special screening of Still Alice

Special screening of Still Alice

To Still Alice executive producer Maria Shriver, “Witnessing Alzheimer's progress on the big screen is as terrifying as it is in real life.” A special screening of the movie will be held Sunday, March 29th at 4pm, The Picture House, 175 Wolfs Lane in Pelham, presented in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association and the Pelham Interfaith Council. Following the film, join in our panel discussion including persons dealing with early stage Alzheimer’s. Contact us at 800.272.3900 for more information.

Click here for more information

Monday, March 9, 2015

Reason to rally in Albany: NYS loses when caregivers drop out of the workplace

Dear Assemblyman Skoufis:

It was a pleasure to meet with you last week to discuss the upcoming Alzheimer's legislation and funding in the 2015-2016 budget. As promised, I researched the tax credits and tuition aid my family received while I was caring for my mother. The amounts are significant.

As I mentioned to you, NYS is already paying a high cost to subsidize Alzheimer's care. This money isn't obvious since it's scattered - lower earnings, losses to businesses in lost time, tax credits to families based on their lower earnings, tuition credits for students of those families, food stamps, etc. If the total numbers could be calculated, they would be staggering. How can I say that? Because my own situation, when calculated, was significant.

I am a certified accountant.  I could not work full time at my career when my mother came to live with me.  Mom was healthy so she did not qualify for nursing care. Due to her Alzheimer's however, she needed custodial care, which I and my two young children had to provide ourselves 24/7. No corporation would give me enough flexibility so I had to abandon my career and work as a bookkeeper, earning a fraction of what I made in "corporate America" - I went from $120,000 a year to barely over $30,000 at times.

The drop in my income alone meant that I no longer had disposable income to spend at local venues for dinners out, movies, clothes shopping, dry cleaning, etc. My housekeeper was let go and I cleaned the house myself.  Likewise shoveling my driveway and minor household repairs - major work that was needed was ignored. Economists call this the "multiplier impact" - my lost earnings resulted in lower earnings for my housekeeper, my landscaper, and the local contractors and pizza parlors.

My lower income also meant that I qualified for tax deductions - I could suddenly claim medical expenses and get full credit for tuition payments. Thus my taxable income plunged, so not only did I owe no taxes, I received tax credits - I actually received checks from NYS for those years. My lower income also qualified my son for maximum TAP payments for his college tuition. Between tax credits and TAP payments, NYS paid me an average of $10,000 a year.

In contrast, if I had received respite care for mom that allowed me to continue working at my career, I would not have qualified for tax credits or tuition aid, I would not have been able to claim any deductions for tuition or medical, thus my taxable income would have been higher, and I would have paid at least $6K a year to NYS in income taxes rather than NYS paying me $10,000.

Thus, the difference between me working full time and patching together part-time jobs was approximately $70,000 a year (my higher income would have placed me in a higher tax bracket, thus affecting this calculation).  That difference continues to this day - by being out of the corporate arena for so long, I am now unable to return to that field for my career and have to stay working for small businesses at a much lower income that what I would now be earning had my career continued uninterrupted. My caregiving duties will also follow me into retirement - I was unable to fund my 401K for several years and now will have significantly less than anticipated. I now have to postpone my retirement and will have less disposable funds to spend when I do finally retire - so less money to spend in local businesses, etc. The economic impact to me, and to NYS, continues to multiply.

The five years I cared for mom cost NYS $30,000 in lost income taxes and $20,000 in tax credits and tuition aid to me/my son - a total of $50,000 alone. Factor in my net lost income of $60,000 a year, NYS lost the benefit of $300,000 of those earnings and the multiplier effect of my local spending of that disposable income.

I admit that my case is not representative - many families do not have my level of income so their losses when they quit work to care for their loved ones are less. But even if each family only lost $10,000 a year in income to care for an Alzheimer's victim (380,000 in NYS), that means that NYS is losing the economic benefit of $3,800,000,000 a year (at a 5% tax rate, that's $190,000,000 in lost taxes alone).

Thus it makes more economic sense to fund respite care up front. Not only does such care have a significant ROI, but loved ones are cared for, family members get a break and can continue their careers and fund their retirement and children's college, children get the benefit of having their parents around to help them with school, and so forth.

I am certain the NYS economists can run a better analysis for the Legislature, one that will show just how devastating this disease already is to the state's coffers and to local businesses. But in the meantime, I hope this personal synopsis helps you to convince your fellow legislators to pass this much needed legislation. I shall, of course, be happy to assist them and you in any way possible.

Thank you for your time and thoughtful attention to this critical matter.

Catherine M. Wilson, C.M.A.
Thornwood, NY

Friday, February 27, 2015

Thanks for Rallying with Us in Albany!

Temperatures dipped to 12 below zero early Tuesday morning, yet 180 people gathered in the NYS Legislative Office Building’s Well, to support what was easily our biggest Rally to End Alzheimer’s! More than fifty advocates from our Chapter area – from dedicated caregivers to health care students – passionately shared with elected officials that Alzheimer’s disease services sorely need the proposed increase in funding of $25 million. We received great media response from local and state government reporters, which carried our message even further.

We thank everyone who took an active role in being there, recruiting others to attend, and speaking out on behalf of what we know needs to happen on the state level. We cannot cause change without your voice. Let’s work together to end Alzheimer’s suffering. To get involved, call us at 800-272-3900.