Alzheimer’s and dementia in rural communities

Published 7:00 am Sunday, May 9, 2021

Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are not a big city problem.  Alzheimer’s plays no favorites, and people living in the vast rural areas of Texas are just as susceptible. Dementia impacts people of all communities differently based on resources available, general disease awareness and safety.  With over 400,000 Texans living with Alzheimer’s, the odds are good that almost everyone reading this column knows someone who has been touched by Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

If one good thing has come out of the pandemic, it’s been the surge in flexibility of holding conferences, seminars and other educational events virtually over Zoom or any of the other similar platforms.  The Alzheimer’s Association is taking full advantage of these opportunities, and so can you.

On Tuesday, May 18, the Alzheimer’s Association North Central Texas chapter is presenting a free event to explore dementia’s common symptoms and forms of the disease, identify challenges of dementia care in rural communities and learn strategies to support those affected by dementia in rural communities.  No matter where you are in the state, you can join this event.

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“We will be live and online on Tuesday, May 18 from 4 pm to 5:30 pm CST,” says Melissa Griffin, Program Manager with the North Central Texas Alzheimer’s Association Chapter.  “We’re especially excited about this event because our speaker is Dr. Suzie Macaluso, PhD, Director of the Pruett Gerontology Center at Abilene Christian University.”

Dr. Macaluso began doing gerontology research in 2014 beginning with a project on clergy retirement preparedness with Dr. C. D. Pruett that they presented at the Southwestern Social Sciences Association meeting. Dr. Macaluso is also an Associate Professor of Sociology and Gerontology, with a PhD in sociology from Purdue University.

“The program we’re presenting was created in partnership with Dr. Macaluso,” says Griffin. “We’ll be showing how dementia presents different challenges in rural settings and what families and health care professionals can do to overcome potential issues. If you don’t live in the city, you might not have access to a specialist that can help diagnose and treat dementia. This program is intended to support families and healthcare professionals impacted by this challenge.”

The event is free, and as a bonus if you are a social worker, licensed professional counselor or nurse you can receive 1 CEU at no cost.

Register at or by calling the Association’s 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.  You can also contact Melissa Griffin at  817-500-9823 or

Meanwhile, you can always get the latest information about the Association’s COVID-19 guidelines for Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in long-term or community-based care settings here:


Scott Finley is Media Relations Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association® in Texas.