Moultrie Observer

Opinion

June 2, 2014

Alzheimer's Association is here to help

TIFTON — Dear editor:

The Alzheimer’s Association has proclaimed June 2014 as Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. I’d like to take this time to make sure your readers know what we stand for and where we are. If you are reading this, you live in a community served by the South Georgia Region of the Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter. We are not the “Tifton” Alzheimer’s Association; our desks and files are centrally located here to have a base of operations from which to reach out to people we serve in the 35 counties from Cordele south to the Florida line and from Waycross west to the Alabama line.

Our 24/7 Helpline is 1-800-272-3900, and if I personally don’t answer it during business hours, it’s because I’m in another county conducting an educational program or a care consultation, or I may be on the phone with another caller. However, I will get the message and call you back to make sure you have the tools or care team you need to understand the dementia you or your loved ones are dealing with. See, I went through this with my mother, and the Alzheimer’s Association opened my eyes to this terribly confusing and debilitating condition, so I could be a better care partner, then caregiver, to her. It is now my passion and that of my coworkers and team of volunteers, to help you on this journey.

This month, the Georgia Chapter is taking a closer look at newly diagnosed people with Early Stage Dementia. We are mailing surveys we’ve put together to help us improve the quality of current services and develop new services to meet the needs of individuals with dementia.  For instance, would you benefit from fun outings and get-togethers with others facing the same challenges and changes as you?

Traditionally, dementia-related services may focus on care partners, with little offered for the people with early dementia.  Newly diagnosed people with Early Stage Dementia have reported to us that they often feel they have nowhere to turn to express their feelings, which include anger, grief, frustration, and loneliness. However, they continue to have the skills and talents to contribute to the community, enrich the lives of others, and enjoy life.

While Persons with Early Stage Dementia have many challenges and issues in common, each person is different, so we wish to determine the individual needs and interests of persons with early dementia in our community.  We also are planning gatherings in your community or close to you later in June for those with Early Stage Dementia. We need to know if you would like to come. Please call 1-800-272-3900, and we’ll confidentially mail you the survey, and if you want, we’ll put you on the list for a confidential social gathering in your community.

Also, we have ordered copies of the newly released book “Living with Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias, 101 Stories of Caregiving, Coping and Compassion.” Let us know if you would like a copy!

We are committed to providing the highest quality information, referrals, and services to those whose lives are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.  Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you.  

Bonnie J. Sayles, Regional Programs director, Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter

24/7 Helpline: 1-800-272-3900 ~ 225 E. Second St., Tifton, GA 31794

 

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