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Denise Parras promoted to lead Care & Support department for NM Chapter

Albuquerque, July 30, 2020 - The Alzheimer’s Association, New Mexico Chapter is pleased to announce that Denise Parras has been promoted to Program Director, leading the chapter’s Care & Support department.

Parras has been a key figure in the Care & Support Department.  Prior to accepting the Program Director position, Parras served as both Interim Program Director and Programs Specialist, beginning her career with the Association as a college intern in the Communications Department.  The significance of Parras’ role within chapter was most apparent when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and program delivery became a challenge. 

Parras was quick to mobilize staff and volunteers to convert Care and Support programs to virtual delivery.  She has been successful in maintaining chapter presence and providing support to the community with families that not only are navigating unprecedented times, but also facing the crisis of dementia.  

“I am very honored to take on the role of Program Director.  I see my professional mission as aligned with the ideals that have made the Alzheimer’s Association the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research,” says Parras.  “I am committed to helping New Mexican families facing dementia through statewide educational programs, caregiver training, care consultations, support groups, volunteer recruitment and outreach.” 

Before her move to the nonprofit world, Parras’ professional experience included 16 years as a paralegal before returning to the University of New Mexico to complete her B.A. in Interpersonal Communication and a minor in Psychology.  She is married, mother of “two amazing teenagers”, a sports fan, and enjoys traveling the southwest.  Parras is based in Albuquerque, her hometown, where the chapter’s main office is located.

“Denise’s dedication and innovation has been key in transitioning our Care and Support programs to virtual platforms, ensuring uninterrupted access for our constituents to the vital resources they need,” says Tim Sheahan (Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association, NM Chapter).  “Through her exceptional work ethic, Denise has displayed leadership qualities since day one, and we are now pleased to promote her as director.”

 As Program Director, Parras’ responsibilities include the supervision, implementation and delivery of the chapter’s numerous Care & Support initiatives to the community.  These include education programs, caregiver trainings, care consultations, information and referral, support groups, safety programs and early stage engagement.  In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of these free resources are now being delivered virtually.

 Today, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease.  By 2050, the total number is expected to rise to nearly 14 million.  It is the 6th leading cause of death in the USA*.

Currently, there is no prevention, proven treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s takes a devastating toll – not just on those with the disease, but on entire families.   In our own state, 43,000 New Mexicans over age 65 are living with Alzheimer’s disease and there are 108,000 unpaid dementia caregivers, many of whom are family members, contributing 123 million hours of care valued at $1.6 billion.

Adapting to the current COVID-19 crisis, the Alzheimer’s Association, New Mexico Chapter is continuing their mission by offering many free resources electronically.

Below is a sampling of online resources for families facing dementia:

For Tips for Family Caregivers during COVID-19: Visit https://alz.org/help-support/caregiving/coronavirus-(covid-19)-tips-for-dementia-care.  
For general information on COVID-19 issues as they relate to dementia and caregiving, visit COVID-19, Alzheimer’s and Dementia: What You Need to Know (Help Center): www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/coronavirus-covid-19  

For Guidelines for Professional long-term & community-based care providers during COVID-19.  Visit:  https://alz.org/professionals/professional-providers/coronavirus-covid-19-tips-for-dementia-caregivers  

For the latest in free NM Chapter webinars, visit: https://alz.org/newmexico/helping_you/savvy_caregiver_other_free_classes   

Visit www.alz.org/training to access presentations like 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's or Understanding Alzheimer's and Dementia - and more! Many with Spanish-language options!

Explore www.alz.org/help-support/resources/online-tools for online tools, answers, local resources and support.

If you need help, call us. Our 24/7 Helpline is available any time, day or night for support or information at 1 (800) 272-3900. 

We have five branch offices in the state: Albuquerque (Main Office), Santa Fe (Northeastern New Mexico), Farmington (Northwestern New Mexico), Roswell (Southeastern New Mexico) and Las Cruces (Southwestern New Mexico). Though our physical locations remain closed due to health concerns, all regional staff may be contacted by calling 1 (800) 272-3900. 

*Source for all statistics: The 2020 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report at www.alz.org/facts.  

About the Alzheimer’s Association®

Our mission: The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia. Visit www.alz.org/newmexico or call 800.272.3900.

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