Every one of us probably knows someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. We have heard the figures, but they are still staggering. One out of eight older adults has Alzheimer’s disease – totaling 5.4 million people in the United States and approximately 96,000 people in Minnesota with the disease.
As the numbers of older Americans increases in coming years, the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease is also likely to increase.
The number of people age 65 and older affected by Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to increase to 7.7 million by 2030. In the majority of cases, scientists do not yet know what causes Alzheimer’s disease.
With that in mind, it is important for people to not only understand the disease itself, but also to understand how those who care for people with Alzheimer’s can communicate with them.
The Redwood Area Dementia Awareness Network is hosting a dementia education event this coming Tuesday at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Redwood Falls.
This event is open to caregivers, professionals and anyone in the community who would like to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The event is set to begin at 4:45 p.m. with a display area including information about dementia and resources available. A light meal is being served from 4:45-5:30 p.m.
At 5:30 p.m., the program begins with a presentation entitled “A Family’s Experience with Dementia”.
Sharon Larson and her son Mike – authors of the book, “Dad’s Last Hunt” are scheduled to share how their family was impacted by dementia.
Sharon is a retired registered nurse and worked in various capacities for 35 years in a small hospital in Glenwood where she still resides.
Her experiences included extensive work with Home Care and Hospice. Mike lives in Bloomington and is a computer consultant/programmer.
“Writing the book was very therapeutic for us,” said Sharon. “Our goal is to help other people going through this same journey.
“Many people have told us that it has helped them and made them feel less alone. It was educational and helped them to understand family problems while dealing with dementia.”
What follows are excerpts from the back of the book, “Dad’s Last Hunt.”
“My Mom and I didn’t start out to write a book. She was keeping journals of Dad’s behavior and medications because she is a nurse, and that’s what nurse’s do.
“I was writing down my experiences with Dad more as therapy for myself than anything else. Later we decided to pull all of it together, and this is the result. The book will bring you through the experiences we had with my grandpa’s Alzheimer’s and my dad’s dementia. It tries to show what it’s like to be a part of the downward spiral and the things that caused us anxiety, pain and joy.
Page 2 of 2 - “We also tried to talk about some of the more sensitive topics surrounding dementia and Alzheimer’s. For example, money and who should pay for care, violent behavior and why it occurs and end of life decisions.”
The workshop “Commun-ication and Coping Skills” begins at 6:45 p.m.