The latest figures show that one person in three will eventually develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
That means the other two out of three have a greater chance of ending up being the caregiver of an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient.
For the past three years, the Redwood Area Dementia Awareness Network has sponsored an education day at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Redwood Falls.
“We get about 60 or 70 people at each event, and they tell us they have left with such eye-opening experiences,” said Lacy Bruns of Rice Home Medical.
“Once people get a diagnosis, they want to know, ‘What do I do? What’s the next step?’ Many people are shy about going to a support group, but are willing to go to an educational event.
“People who have been diagnosed and their caregivers want to learn coping strategies. The events show people there’s someone to help them, no matter what stage of the disease they’re at.
“At the discussions afterward, people will say, ‘You mean I’m not the only one who feels this way?’”
The events have been such a success, the network plans to go up to two events a year.
“Our previous events were more about the basics,” said Bruns. “With these sessions, we are moving to the next level.”
As a lead-in for the month, the network is bringing, “Though Hidden, I Am Still Here”, a presentation by Chaplain Mary Pauluk of the St. John’s Circle of Care Campus in Springfield.
Pauluk’s presentation, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Redwood Falls on April 9, is intented as a positive message for caregivers working with those with dementia.
Registration is required by April 5.
Following that, the network is sponsoring a three-part series, “Living with Alzheimer’s Disease”, to Gloria Dei on April 23, 30, and May 7.
Carol Thelen, Regional Director of the Minnesota Alzheimer’s Association, will teach helpful strategies to provide safe, effective, and comfortable care for those in the middle stages of Alzheimers, and their caregivers.
Registration is required by Thursday, April 18. There is a one-time charge of $10 for all three sessions.
With its plans to sponsor two events a year, the Redwood Area Dementia Awareness Network is hoping to expand to include members from a greater variety of professions, such as estate planning or housing.
For more information, or to register for any of these presentations, call Redwood County Volunteers at 507-627-1016, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.