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Friends of Kirkwood: Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama – A Local Organization Helping Local Families

By Sarah Sexton | Publish Date January 22, 2021

Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama – A Local Organization Helping Local Families

This year Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama (ACA) celebrates 30 years of service to local families caring for a loved one with dementia at home.  Since 1991 we have primarily offered education and services ranging from home delivery of continence products to scholarships to attend an adult day care center, but 2020 has had its impact.  Each of our programs has faced COVID related challenges and we have revised how we help our families.

We continue to offer Project Lifesaver Bracelets through the Jefferson County Sheriff’s department and home delivery of continence supplies. However, our most costly program of offering scholarships to attend adult day care centers was put on hold as the local centers remain closed.  Our first response to these families was to offer some initial food and monetary aid. We also put together emergency medical kits and with the help of volunteers 237 families in 19 counties received a kit.  Many day care families switched to the continence supply delivery program, which now includes the option of receiving a case of the nutritional supplement Ensure.   We have also offered in-home respite care for up to 4 hours per week. To combat boredom and isolation we offered families a robotic cat or dog – a very popular and successful item!

Despite losing over 120 individuals on our service programs in 2020, we are serving more families than ever.  Over 280 families in 19 Alabama counties are touched by ACA in one of these profound ways each month.  Our strength is derived from 30 years of amazing community support, including Kirkwood by the River, which has built ACA into a strong, independent, local, non-profit organization.

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The Residents

Our residents come from different backgrounds and bring their unique qualities, talents, and life experiences to complete the Kirkwood community. Here are just a few reflections from some individuals who call Kirkwood their home.

I fell in love with the cottage and the view from my back porch. I am excited to have a yard for Ginger, my poodle, to play in and my own garage, all within an established retirement community!

Charlotte Hamilton Current Resident

My husband and I looked at a number of places when deciding to move to a retirement community. For the most part, we found communities that said, ‘We’re going to take care of you.’ But Kirkwood was different. It wasn’t just about taking care of us. It was also about having fun, having friends, and living life to the fullest. The attitude at Kirkwood was positive and the atmosphere was comforting. We simply couldn’t resist. Without a doubt, the location was ideal. The Cahaba Room that overlooks the river, the mountains, the trails – there were just so many things about life. The community was lively. It was alive.

Alice Brooks Current Resident

We realized we were approaching an age where we might need more assistance than what just downsizing could provide. Knowing we have my sons nearby and the levels of care should we need it is comforting, and the beautiful hillside, river, and the woods makes it that much more appealing. We don’t know of any other community that has the woods, the various levels of care, and so many different amenities.

Phyllis and John Guschke Current Residents

We were moving my parents down from the Cleveland area to be near us. I looked at almost every retirement place in the Birmingham area. The second I turned into Kirkwood’s drive and drove up the hill, I knew that I’d found the perfect place for my parents to live in Alabama. In the six years that my parents have been at Kirkwood, I have always felt nothing but love and helpfulness from every staff member. Everyone is always helpful with a pleasant attitude. You can truly see and feel the family atmosphere. I’m happy that my parents can call Kirkwood their home.

Brenda Sheehan Kirkwood family member

When we learned that Cedar Ridge was being developed, that seemed to fit our needs very well. It is the ideal place for the next phase of our retirement.

Carol and Arthur Stephens Current Residents

One thing that we feel is very important here at Kirkwood by the River is the relationship that we have between the staff and the residents. They are dedicated to making our life here as safe and secure and pleasurable as possible. That goes a long way.

Fred Rogers Current Resident

The community's cottage living surrounded by a wooded, natural environment with access to future healthcare services is what attracted us to Kirkwood!

Rick and Jane Ricketts Current Residents