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Join Team “Cuyahoga County Senior Services” in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s

by Marlene Robinson-Statler , Executive Officer, Division of Senior and Adult Services
purple background with words Wald to End Alzheimer's in whiteThe Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services (DSAS) is raising awareness about Alzheimer’s Disease and wants you to help. Alzheimer’s Disease is not just an aging disease – it’s a disease that impacts family members of all ages and our entire community. At DSAS and the Specialized Medicaid Benefits Center (SMBC), a service center within the Cuyahoga County Division of Job and Family Services that provides Medicaid and other benefits to individuals throughout Cuyahoga County, we’ve seen this impact and are committed to supporting everyone involved.

Through the work and dedication of DCFS and SMBC staff we provide services to allow residents to remain independent in their homes and assist with determining eligibility for long term care Medicaid programs.

two elderly women's handsDSAS has partnered with SMBC to form our team for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, led by our “Senior Champion,” Tanjulla Tyson-Wearren. Held annually, the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research programs.

Tanjulla, a former caregiver, shares her story of how Alzheimer’s impacted her life and how support from the County helped her for several years:

“In 2003, I was working as a Social Service Worker in Adult Protective Services. I got a call that my mother was wandering, experiencing confusion, and burning pots. I decided that she would have to start living with my family.

It wasn’t an easy feat to have a strong-willed woman release her independence. She was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia at the age of 65. She had years’ worth of mini-strokes and a history of high blood pressure. I utilized my Cuyahoga County networks for wrap around supportive services. I had some amazing people from the Specialized Medicaid Benefits Division assist me with maintaining Medicaid, so I could have passport services.

I had a home health aide, medical supplies delivered, visiting physicians, hospital bed etc. My colleagues at Probate Court provided me with a seamless path to become her legal guardian. I transferred to third shift at Children Services KIDS-Hotline for a ten-year span of being my mother’s caregiver. I worked protecting kids at night, took care of mom and my family, and attended graduate school at Case Western Reserve University studying social work in my days. It was an emotional roller coaster, but God had a plan for me.

My mother died December 21, 2014 and I’ve worked tirelessly to lend a face to this horrific disease. I’m now a Social Service Supervisor in Adult Protective Services where my career started 23 years ago. Alzheimer’s disease is not just an aging disease. It’s the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and it’s not curable, yet. I can’t stress enough the importance of awareness, early detection, healthy lifestyle choices, and available community services not only for the client but for their caregivers.

I want to say “Thank YOU” to Cuyahoga County. You are making an impact and were instrumental in my ability to maintain employment and my caregiving.”

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held on Sunday, October 6, 2019 at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. This is a family friendly event. All county residents are invited to join. Click here to join the team or email the Team Captain, Tanjulla Tyson-Wearren.

The team is also asking for testimonies from individuals on how they’ve experienced the disease and how DSAS and SMBC have served their family and others. If you have a story that demonstrates how DSAS and SMBC has provided superior services, email Tanjulla with your personal stories.