Alzheimer’s programs return to Grand County this week
The Alzheimer’s Association is coming back to Grand County for the second outreach within four months. Enhanced programs and new information that can improve the lives of Alzheimer’s victims will be available to the public on Thursday.
Emmalie Conner, Northern Colorado Regional Director the Alzheimer’s Association, is returning with three free programs designed for caretakers, friends and family of people with dementia as well as for those with Alzheimer’s.
“Recent research is giving us a reason to hope for the future,” Conner said, explaining that recent developments with advances in clinical trials of medications, new methods of communication and new techniques of exercise combined with mental stimulation will improve quality of life.
The first program, “Care Giving Tips: Coping with Memory Loss and Dementia,” will be presented in the conference room of the administration building at Kremmling Memorial Hospital from 11 a.m. to noon. The emphasis will be on communication strategies and long distance care giving. It will also touch on the financial and legal considerations of the disease.
Oftentimes caretakers with the best of intentions end up embarrassing or degrading the person with dementia by talking down to them as one might talk down to a baby. Similar to the term “baby talk,” this has been dubbed “elderspeak.”
“Studies are showing that negative attitudes and irritability result in the person with dementia when they are spoken to in this manner,” Conner said. She says that when speaking to a person with dementia we validate a person’s worth when we speak to them as we would to any adult. “However, we might choose to speak with different lengths of sentences and slightly different vocabulary, but we should not adjust our tone,” she said.
The second program, “Ensuring the Safety of the Person with Memory Loss,” will be presented at the Granby Senior Center from 1-1:45 p.m. The emphasis will be on home safety and communication techniques. It will benefit anyone dealing with a loved one with memory loss. It will also include environmental concerns that can promote safety and comfort in the home. Important wandering triggers will also be discussed. As with all programs offered, the community is invited.
The last program of the day, “Activities for the Person with Memory Loss”, will take place from 3-4 p.m. at Cliffview Assisted Living Center in Kremmling. This will be a fun and interactive program for the residents of Cliffview as well as any interested community members.
This program will look at physical activity and cognitive stimulation together so blood flow is increased to the brain. The technique Conner will be demonstrating is called, “Physical Story Telling.” “I will get them doing a physical activity and then ask them to tell a story,” she said. “I will ask them to pick a place to go to on a trip and we’ll talk through all of the things we’ll have to do in order to get ready for that trip.”
Conner will also incorporate new findings of three combined key factors: cognitive stimulation, physical activity and nutrition. This approach is what is known as “Global Stimulation.”
“For example,” she explained, “we have all been conditioned to have carbohydrates in the morning, but studies show that people function more acutely when we have protein as part of our diet in the morning and lunch.” She went on to explain that as the day progresses healthy carbohydrates in moderate amounts could be consumed.
“Pasta for dinner might be a healthy choice,” Conner said, “because we know those carbs stimulate the feeling to have a nap and relax a little more.” She said that studies are finding that a more suitable diet combined with physical exercise that incorporates cognitive exercise improves overall cognition.
All classes are free and open to the public. For more information on any of these classes offered call any of the sponsoring organizations: Grand County Rural Health Network (887-3064), Kremmling Memorial Hospital (724-3165), Grand County Council on Aging (887-3222) or Cliffview Assisted Living Center (724-3530).
On a side note I would like to make a correction from last week’s Voice of Your Hospital Column. When I was discussing the future plans for the replacement hospital in Kremmling, (approximately 2012 ” after the Granby Medical Campus has been up and running for a year or two), I mistakenly said that the purchased land for the Kremmling replacement hospital project was located a couple of miles east of Kremmling of Highway 34. It is actually more like a mile or so east of Kremmling off Highway 40.
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