It is estimated there are 5.7 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease. Care for these Americans is a 24-hour, 7-days a week job.
To help those who have Alzheimer’s and their caregivers and families, Park Centre in Newton will be hosting events throughout the summer aimed at providing education and information.
The first session of, “10 Ways to Love Your Brain,” is 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Garden Room at Park Centre and focuses on different ways to combat cognitive decline.
Director of the Willowbrook Adult Day Center, Kelsey Terpstra, said Park Centre has been awarded a grant which funds hours of training for the staff to help them assist those with dementia. Another part of the same grant goes toward family and caregiver education.
“There are only 10 communities in Iowa who were selected for this grant so we were honored to be chosen,” marketing and sales director Margot Voshell said.
Terpstra said these sessions come from feedback they have received from people saying they want to know how to better interact with those with Alzheimer’s.
“Often times, too, when someone is taking care of someone with Dementia, depending on how their health is and we have seen this happen, if they don’t get enough support and utilize enough resources, then they will find their health failing and sometimes then they will end up needing long-term care and be in the hospital because they have literally worn themselves down,” Terpstra said.
The training sessions are important, Voshell said, because it affects millions of people, both those with the disease and those who care for people with it. She said it needs to be brought to the forefront and needs to be discussed and understood considering it is a relatively new disease, first identified only 50 years ago.
Terpstra agreed, saying it also helps caregivers, providing reassurance that they are not alone in helping those with Alzheimer’s.
Voshell said she wants people to know while research is ongoing, there is evidence that changing parts of a person’s lifestyle can help cut down the risk of cognitive decline. She gave the examples of brushing your teeth with the opposite hand, taking a different route to work and putting on shoes in the opposite order as ways to keep the brain healthy and working. Reading a book, doing a crossword puzzle and exercise are also ways to keep the brain moving and working.
Two other sessions are set for later in the summer. The program "The Basics: Memory Loss, Alzheimer's and
Dementia" will be from 4 to 5:30 p.m. July 18. The final session in the series will be "Effective Communications Strategies when dealing with loved ones with dementia" from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Aug. 15.
Contact Samuel Nusbaum at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or firstname.lastname@example.org