Recognized for her work with caregivers of loved ones who suffer dementia, Paula Levy of Woodland Park has been named Volunteer of the Year by the Alzheimer's Association.
“While Paula is very visible in the community hers is a quiet visibility,” said Barbara Caudle, the association's regional director. “She is humble, never seeks attention for herself and is always trying to think of ways she can help the families in this community.”
Levy leads a support group for caretakers in Teller County, which meets twice a month at the Woodland Park library.
“Paula has been an advocate for people with dementia and their caregivers for many years,” Caudle said. “As well, she has been a wonderful supporter of our events. A lot of times the quiet folks are the ones who don't get the recognition.”
Last month, Levy offered information, along with hope, for a group of caregivers at the Lunch and Learn series sponsored by the Greater Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce.
“For this community, Paula is really the face of the Alzheimer's Association. People up here know and trust her, feel comfortable using our services through her,” Caudle said. “Like many nonprofits we would not exist without our volunteers. It's about people connecting with other people.”
According to statistics gathered by the association, more than 36 percent of caregivers of dementia patients report that stress is the biggest problem. “There are a lot of caregivers who are not comfortable reaching out and if they do, the person they connect with is Paula,” Caudle said. “It has to be someone with a lot of warmth and knowledge.”
In an email to the association, Levy offers a glimpse of her motivation and dedication to helping others:
“I am truly honored to be recognized this way. I am grateful to the Alzheimer's Association for providing me the venue to serve local caregivers and their loved ones on a monthly basis over the last 12 years,” she said. “It is truly my most passionate work, out of all the volunteer work of which I am involved. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! “
Under the bipartisan National Alzheimer's Project Act, unanimously approved by Congress, the federal government has released the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease.
● In response to the escalating crisis, the first goal of the plan is to prevent and treat the disease by 2025.
● The plan calls for an Alzheimer's Disease public awareness campaign in addition to providing education and outreach for caregivers.
To support an effective National Alzheimer's plan, President Barack Obama has asked Congress to commit additional resources in the fight against the disease.
● The President's fiscal year 2014 budget proposal includes an additional $100 million for research, care and support:
●$80 million for medical research
●$11 million to enable states to improve dementia-care services and supports
●$5 million for provider education and training
●$4 million for public awareness to connect caregivers to community resources
This information was provided by the Alzheimer's Association.