Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia

Did you hear about the 83 year old woman who talked herself out of a speeding ticket by telling the young officer that she had to get there before she forgot where she was going?

It's funny, unless it is happening to you. Recently I have been going through a spell of losing important papers, files, and even 2 pairs of pants! It has been very frustrating and a lot of people confuse these kind of lapses with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. While I am not a clinical person, I have relied on excellent speakers and resources to help me learn considerably more about dementia.

Two key points I want you to know:
1. There is help available for early signs of dementia.
2. Everything that affects your body, also affects your brain. A healthy diet and exercise make a difference in how your brain functions. More on this another time.

Right now I want to focus on receiving help during the early stages of Alzheimer's. The Alzheimer's Association has a new program, called Trailblazers. I am including the information below and hope you will take advantage of this opportunity or share with someone else.

Having Memory Problems?
The Alzheimer’s Association is offering a new program for individuals with early-stage Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders.

Central Dallas Trailblazer Group

Starting in June 2009

The Trailblazers

• Educational and support group for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia
to promote understanding of and coping with the illness in a caring and
supportive environment. Groups will be held at various locations.

• Care partners are invited to participate.

• The initial program will consist of 8 weekly meetings focusing on a specific topic that will
be addressed by guest speakers who are knowledgeable on the subject. The eight week
sessions will be followed by the “Trailblazers Graduates “ with members determining
frequency of meetings, focus, and goals.

• Facilitators will be qualified professionals experienced in working with people with
Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.

Participants must have a physician’s diagnosis of dementia. They have been told of and at least occasionally acknowledge the illness, have good communication and social skills, and have a desire to participate in the group. Participants must be willing to have a brief interview to assess for appropriateness for the group and be able to arrange their own transportation.

Potential participants (and/or family members, referral sources): Please call Sydney Farrier at 214-540-2407 to set up an assessment interview.

If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer's, please take a minute to check out this resource:
This company produces videos and DVD’s that ‘interact’ with a dementia patient by talking to them, sharing stories and memories, and singing. The shows can give a caregiver time for a few minutes alone.

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