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On Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, Professional Business Women of Polonia held its membership dinner meeting at the Forestview Restaurant in Depew. Christine Kibler, PBW president, updated members on PBW activities.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the PBW, go to our website at for an application. We will also be continuing with our Scholar-Rama fundraising in the Spring for our scholarship fund. Sr. Mary Johnice Rzadkiewicz then gave the dinner prayer.

Our guest speaker for the evening was Julia Szprygada, LMSW, director of education and training at the Alzheimer's Association, WNY Chapter. Julia coordinates education programs and provides care planning and support for caregivers, people with dementia, professionals and community members.

Julia spoke about the risk factors for Alzheimer's and its 10 warning signs. Julia told us that Alzheimer's was named after a doctor, Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who, in 1906, first described the disease. Julia said Alzheimer's is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. It is a fatal disease. There is presently no cure or treatment for Alzheimer's. There are about five and one-half million people in the United States with Alzheimer's. This figure is expected to triple in the next 30 years. There has been a lot of research over the last 10 years to try and find a cure.

PBW members asked very insightful questions about Alzheimer's and dementia. Julia explained that dementia is not a disease but is actually a symptom that affects one's mental cognitive tasks such as memory and reasoning which in turn affects one's daily life.

She described dementia as an umbrella of symptoms that Alzheimer's, and diseases such as vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) all fall under. Alzheimer's is the most common disease of dementia that causes memory loss and changes in the brain. Alzheimer's always causes dementia symptoms.

Julia explained some of the factors that increase one's risk of getting Alzheimer's. Those factors are age, sex (women tend to have a higher diagnosis than men), family history and genetics.

Eating a heart healthy diet, being physically active, engaging in social activity and cognitive activity such as doing puzzles or reading a challenging book can help delay the symptoms of dementia.

Julia then went on to talk about the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's. They are:

1. memory change that disrupts daily life

2. challenges in planning or solving problems

3. difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work or leisure

4. confusion with time and place

5. trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

6. problems with words when speaking or writing

7. misplacing things or losing the ability to retrace steps

8. decreased judgment

9. withdrawal from work or social activities

10. changes in mood and personality

Julia reminded us that someone who is experiencing any of the above warning signs, does not necessarily mean that they have Alzheimer's. We all have on occasion misplaced things, forgotten words or someone's name. That is the normal part of aging.

Someone experiencing any of the above warning signs could also be the result of side effects from medication, a vitamin deficiency, or dehydration, each of which can be effectively treated by adjusting your medication, taking a vitamin supplement or by drinking more water. If you or someone you know may be experiencing any of the above symptoms that are not normal to you or that someone, you should be checked by your doctor.

For more information on Alzheimer's, contact the Alzheimer's Association, WNY Chapter at (716) 626-0600 or online at

Come join us at our next PBW meeting in March, the date, time and speaker to be announced.

Julia Syprygada, LMSW, Director of Education
and Training at the Alzheimer’s Association,
 WNY Chapter

PBW learns about Alzheimer’s Disease