Across the city of Chattanooga on Sunday, June 11, organizers say there will be a call to action for pastors to unite and support Memory Sunday: A National Alzheimer’s and Caregiving Awareness Campaign for African-American Congregations.
"The campaign brings attention to the tremendous burden of Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the African-American community, while utilizing the power and influence of the pulpit. The goal is to bring awareness about Alzheimer’s, distribute information, discover community resources, and support persons living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers," officials said.
“We are localizing this national movement by calling it Memory Sunday Chattanooga. Our local campaign will deliberately create awareness for a public health crisis among African Americans living in our city,” said Christopher-Charles Chaney, pastor of Kingdom International Ministries, national family caregiving spokesperson, and the CEO of Family CareLIVING, a corporation providing products and services supporting family caregivers.
"Alzheimer’s affects an estimated five million people in the United States. However, African Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias as elderly white Americans. African Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the later stages and to be misdiagnosed due to other illnesses, a lack of awareness, and a lack of access to appropriate medical care," officials said.
“There’s literally no time to waste. The epidemic of Alzheimer’s is projected to continue spreading over the next 30 years as the number of African Americans entering the age of risk will more than double to 6.9 million,” said Christin McWhorter, National Family Caregiver Support Program coordinator with the Southeast Tennessee Areas Agency on Aging and Disability.
“There is no better time and no better place for our community to learn about Alzheimer’s than in the church,” said Dr. Ternae Jordan Sr., pastor of Mt Canaan Baptist Church, one of Memory Sunday Chattanooga’s participants.
“Participating congregations will receive free access to the Memory Sunday toolkit, promotional materials, program implementation ideas, and a local representative,” said Rev. Chaney. "The campaign sponsors have created a turnkey awareness program that is free, customizable, and far from being time intensive. Congregations can do a full promotion event or simply announce the campaign and community resources during their morning service."
Church organizations can get involved or registered for Memory Sunday events and receive free promotional materials by registering at www.balmingilead.org. For additional information or assistance with registration and event planning, contact Rev. Chaney at 423-751-1555 or ChaneySpeaks@gmail.com.