Jan 13, 2009

Dial 211 When Alzheimer's or Dementia Strike

As the Alzheimer's Reading Room continues to grow, I am starting to receive direct emails asking me for help and advice.

I know from personal experience the overwhelming feeling of stress that comes with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's. Never having experienced dementia, in any way, I just didn't know where to turn or what to do. To make matters worse, my mother lived more than 1000 miles away from me. It took me almost a year to get my feet on the ground.

Over time I am going to rewrite and organize all of the information I learned into one article. Today, I want to familiarize you with 2-1-1.
In many states, dialing “211” provides individuals and families in need with a shortcut through what may be a bewildering maze of health and human service agencies’ phone numbers. By simply dialing 211, those in need of assistance are referred, and sometimes connected, to appropriate agencies and community organizations.


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Here is the link to discover if 211 is available to you. Go here and put in your zip code or city to determine if the service is available to you.

In many states, dialing “211” provides individuals and families in need with a shortcut through what may be a bewildering maze of health and human service agencies’ phone numbers. By simply dialing 211, those in need of assistance are referred, and sometimes connected, to appropriate agencies and community organizations.

211 works like 911. Calls to 211 are routed by the local telephone company to a local or regional calling center. The 211 center’s referral specialists will ask questions to determine needs and possible sources of help.

  • Specialists can access databases of resources available from private and public health and human service agencies
  • Match the callers’ needs to available resources
  • Link or refer callers directly to an agency or organization that can help.


211 can be dialed in any health or family emergency. Much like 911, 211 can be an emergency service resource.

Available services vary widely by city and county. There may be services in your area that are very difficult to identify and find. I found that sometimes a foundation will fund a program for seniors in a single zipcode. Services like these often help with things like cleaning, bathing, food preparation or meals, or offer relief so you can go to the store or bank. Often they provide this service free of charge. You really need to dig deep to find these services. After a year of digging and looking I identified an service unknown that was less than a mile away.

Once you start looking for help, dig deep, you will be wonderfully surprised when that very special person "pops-up" and gives you more information or help than you could every imagine.

When the overwhelming feelings come remember one thing--you are not alone. I had to learn this on my own but I now know it is true.