Annual Games Day set for July 10

Published on Monday, 30 June 2014 22:52 - Written by REBECCA HOEFFNER rhoeffner@tylerpaper.com

Tyler has yet another claim to fame: The Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County is known by the National Mah Jongg League as the No. 1 city in the United States to place the largest single order of Mah Jongg cards annually.

“Mah Jongg for Memory is such a fun event that the ladies in our area who play Mah Jongg will not miss it,” Heather Jones, community outreach coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Alliance, said. “It is one of their favorite events, which they really look forward to and are committed to attending every year.

“Of course they love to play for camaraderie and to keep their brain sharp, but what sets this event apart for them is they know they are giving back to a good cause and helping the Alzheimer’s Alliance to continue to provide many of our programs and services to families in Smith County. For the 13th year, ASAP (Alzheimer’s Support Auxiliary for People) and our sponsors have been invaluable to helping us serve our community and ensure this event continues to grow and get better with each year.”

For the 13th consecutive year, about 450 women will gather for the annual “Mah Jongg for Memory” Games Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., July 10, at Willow Brook Country Club, 3205 W. Erwin St.

The event is organized by the volunteer auxiliary “Alzheimer’s Support Auxiliary for People” of the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County based in Tyler.

Attendees will enjoy a day of playing Mah Jongg, a delicious lunch and have the opportunity to participate in a silent auction where they may bid on items donated by ASAP members, local businesses and organizations. Proceeds from the event benefit local families through many programs and services of the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County.

“Although every case of Alzheimer’s disease is different, experts have identified common warning signs of the brain disease,” according to the organization’s website.

“Remember, Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, and it is important to look for signs that might indicate Alz-heimer’s disease versus basic forgetfulness. With Alzheimer’s disease, these symptoms gradually increase and become more persistent. If someone is exhibiting these symptoms, the person should check out his or her concerns with a healthcare professional. Awareness of these warning signs is not a substitute for a structured screening or consultation with a primary care provider.”

Warning signs include trouble with new memories; relying on memory helpers; difficulty finding words; struggling to complete familiar tasks; confusion about time, place or people; misplacing familiar objects; onset of new depression or irritability; making bad decisions; personality changes; loss of interest in important responsibilities; seeing or hearing things, or expressing false beliefs.

“Ten percent of those over 65 years of age and 50 percent of people over 85 are affected by Alzheimer’s,” according to the website. “More than 4.5 million Americans are believed to have Alzheimer’s disease and by 2050, the number could increase to 13.2 million. Approximately 59,000 victims die and 350,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s disease are diagnosed each year.”

The premier sponsor of this year’s “Mah Jongg for Memory” is Katie’s Jewelry, and presenting sponsors are Emerson Insurance and Financial Services, and Prestige Estates Luxury Assisted Living and Memory Care.

Additional sponsors include Azalea Trails; Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics; The Hamptons: a Premier Retirement Community; Meadow Lake Senior Living Community; Ozarka; Bain, Files, Jarrett, Bain, and Harrison, PC; Reunion Plaza Healthcare and Rehabilitation; Crow Towing Service; and the Ink Well.

There will be a raffle drawing for a Christmas Table Topper and a Mah Jongg for Memory quilt, both hand made by ASAP members. Raffle tickets will be $5 each and the winner will be drawn at the event.

Groups and individuals interested in attending “Mah Jongg for Memory” may call the Alzheimer’s Alliance office for more information at 903-509-8323. Pre-payment registration is required. Information regarding Alzheimer’s disease, Alzheimer’s Alliance programs, services and volunteer opportunities also are available by visitingwww.alzalliance.org .