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Social Work

Social Work Library Resources

What is Dementia? Alzheimer's?

Dementia is a word for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. It is not one specific disease. People with dementia may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as getting dressed or eating. They may lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions. Their personalities may change. They may become agitated or see things that are not there. Read more about different types of dementia from the MedLine Plus website.

Dementia warning signs from

Specific dementias:


U.S. Administration on Aging   The mission of AoA is to develop a comprehensive, coordinated and cost-effective system of home and community-based services that helps elderly individuals maintain their health and independence in their homes and communities.

U.S. National Institute on Aging   NIA is the primary Federal agency on Alzheimer’s disease research.  This site is geared mainly for the researcher.

U.S. Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center  The Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center Web site will help you find current, comprehensive, Alzheimer's disease information and resources from the National Institute on Aging.  This site is geared for the layperson.

Associations Specializing in Dementias

The Alzheimer's Association is the leading, global, voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care and support, and the largest private, nonprofit funder of Alzheimer's research.  The Northern California Chapter has activities, classes, and support groups in many locations.  Their Online Helpline provides individual answers to your questions.  You can also use the 24/7 telephone helpline at 800-272-3900.

Alzheimer's Foundation of America has developed Excellence in Care to partner with care settings in the establishment of a nationwide standard of excellence in care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias.  Their report, Memory Matters:  Screening Approaches to Increase Early Detection and Recommendations for National Policy (2008) deals with dementia screening, one of the more controversial areas of alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

Lewey Body Dementia Association   A highlight is their LBD Stories website.

Other Associations

American Geriatrics Society  The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a not-for-profit organization of close to 6,000 health professionals devoted to improving the health, independence and quality of life of all older people. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policy makers and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy.

Gerontological Society of America  The mission of the Gerontological Society of America is:

  • To promote the conduct of multi- and interdisciplinary research in aging by expanding the quantity of gerontological research and by increasing its funding resources;
  • To disseminate gerontological research knowledge to researchers, to practitioners, and to decision and opinion makers; and
  • To promote, support, and advocate for aging education, and education and training in higher education.

Networks and Groups

Ethnic  Eldercare Network  Resource for caregivers and health professionals of ethnic elders.  Highlights cultural beliefs about aging that impact care giving and strategies on how to combat ethnic stereotyping in health care.

LGBT Aging Project    Addresses concerns of the LGBT aging community regarding caregiver support, bereavement groups, and more.

Alzheimer's and African American Communities  Educational and outreach materials from the Alzheimer's Association.

Alzheimer's and Hispanic/Latino Communities Educational and outreach materials from the Alzheimer's Association.

Asian and Pacific Islander Dementia Care Network Project From the Alzheimer’s Association of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Countie

 Banner Alzheimer's Institute - Native American Caregiver Stories

Culturally Sensitive Dementia Care from the Alzheimer's Association. 

Community Services

Eldercare Locator, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, connecting  to services for older adults and their families. They are also available by phone at 1-800-677-1116.

Choosing Care Providers, advice about planning and choosing care from the Alzheimers Association.

CalQualityCare gives help choosing what kind and level of care is appropriate and helps locate care providers.

H.E.L.P.  is dedicated to empowering older adults and their families by providing impartial information, education and counseling on elder care, law, finances and consumer protection

SF Bay Area / San Jose Resources

These are federally-mandated agencies established under the Older Americans Act (OAA) in 1973 to respond to the needs of Americans 60 and over in every local community. They are supported by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.  

San Francisco Institute on Aging

San Mateo County Aging and Adult Services

Santa Clara County Council on Aging

Santa Cruz County Seniors Council

Alameda County Area Agency on Aging

Care for the Caregiver

The Alzheimers Association offers support for caregivers including these:

Advice and help for caregivers from AARP [American Association of Retired Persons]

The National Family Caregivers Association links to resources, e-communities for support & advice, and forums on topics such as depression.

The U.S. government Medicare site provides info on long-term health planning, equipment suppliers, and has a section devoted to caregiver-support.