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History of Without Warning

Without Warning®: Supporting Those on the Journey of Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease began April 2004 through the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center (RADC) in Chicago. At that time, and unfortunately still today, few support programs were developed specifically targeted for people living with Alzheimer’s disease in mid-life.

Without Warning has grown from an average attendance of 15 to as high as 80 individuals.  Monthly meetings offer two different sessions for people with Alzheimer’s and at least three different sessions for family members. Meetings for children occur separately. 

Coordinating a program of this size has been a learning experience for the Without Warning Group Facilitators. Our group keeps learning, and we are constantly readjusting to meet the needs of our members. As facilitators we always need to change and adapt. 

The insights and suggestions of the Without Warning facilitators were the driving force for the Toolkit Project. We have also asked the Without Warning members, both people with Alzheimer’s disease and their family members, what they like about support groups and what they would suggest to people running those groups. Listening to their input has given great guidance and direction to the Without Warning program and the Toolkit Project. We are sure that their input and the input of those in your Support Groups will also help direct you and guide your own individual groups.

Before coming to my first meeting, I felt... anxious; as long as nobody else knew our reality, we could put it in a box and pretend it was just a nightmare but once people know and you say the words yourself, you have to deal with it.  Having said that, Without Warning is an inviting, helpful community for those affected by this disease.  Once you have this diagnosis, the community in which you once belonged becomes strained and difficult to manage.  At Without Warning, we all understand one another and have walked in each others shoes