There is a brief time when the sky seems to fall in – from that period when people start wondering if they might have Alzheimer’s and the time they are formally diagnosed with the disease. That can be a horrifying time for individuals and families.
Pierce County Community Connections Aging and Disability Resources will host “Oh My Gosh – Now What?” a six-part series of discussions for families and individuals about the initial journey through Alzheimer’s and other Dementias. The series will cover the warning signs, talk about symptoms, managing behaviors, the progress of the disease, legal concerns, financial issues and resources for help and support.
“Oh My Gosh – Now What?” will be led by Jessica Girard and Kris Sawyers-Dowling, case managers with Aging and Disability Resources, who specialize in providing practical help to families in the early stages of the disease. Here is the schedule for sessions:
- May 15 – “What is Dementia? What are the warning signs?”
- May 29 – “How do I start the conversation? How do I cope with the shock?”
- June 12 – “What are the typical behaviors? How do I manage them?”
- June 26 – “How does the disease progress? What should I expect?”
- July 10 – “How do I pay for care? What are the legal things I should do?
- July 24 – “Where can I turn for help? What are the resources I can rely on?”
All sessions will be held at the Pierce County Annex, 2401 S. 35th St. in Tacoma at noon. People can attend any or all of the discussions. Sessions are free and open to all. No RSVP is required.
“The prevalence of Alzheimer’s and other dementias is growing rapidly,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, manager of Aging and Disability Resources. “Currently there are over 150,000 Washingtonians with Alzheimer's or a related dementia – a number expected to triple by 2050. Nationally over 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer's, including approximately 200,000 individuals younger than age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer's. Almost two-thirds of American seniors living with Alzheimer's are women. Until a cure is found, our goal is to help families with care, information and resources.”
“Oh My Gosh – Now What?” is sponsored by Pierce County Community Connections Aging and Disability Resources (ADR) in collaboration with local community partners. For additional information about the series call the Aging and Disability Resource Center at (253) 798-4600.
Scott Kinney, Community Connections
Bob Riler, Community Connections