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Alzheimer's Foundation of America Names Actor Hector Elizondo as Honorary Chairman
Date:9/21/2009

NEW YORK, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) today announced that actor Hector Elizondo, whose mother had Alzheimer's disease, will serve as the honorary celebrity chairman of AFA.

Elizondo's efforts to help raise awareness of Alzheimer's disease come as the incidence of Alzheimer's disease soars, especially as the population ages. In the United States, the number of people age 65 and older will more than double between 2000 and 2030 to 70.3 million or 20 percent of the population; likewise, those 85 and older will rise two-fold, to 8.9 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Age is the greatest known risk factor for the brain disorder.

In his role as AFA's honorary chairman, Elizondo, well-known for his role in "Pretty Woman," "The Princess Diaries," and other major films and TV shows, will urge Americans to act on any memory concerns and encourage participation in AFA's National Memory Screening Day on November 17. The annual event offers free, confidential memory screenings at community sites nationwide and is the focal point of AFA's early detection initiative.

"If you have memory concerns, burying your head in the sand doesn't help you or your family," Elizondo said. "Instead, it's important to take action and take a memory screening. Screenings are a great starting point to find out what what's really going on and can lead to the care you might need -- and the support your family might need."

The New York-born actor has been drawn to the cause as a result of his family's experience with Alzheimer's disease. When his mother began exhibiting signs of Alzheimer's disease in the mid-1960's, he said stigma and ignorance about the illness made it very difficult for his family to seek help.

"But there's no reason for that today. Education and resources are plentiful. It all starts
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SOURCE Alzheimer's Foundation of America
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