Alzheimer’s Support in Dayton & the Miami Valley
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Alzheimer’s Support in Dayton & the Miami Valley

Alzheimer’s Support in Dayton & the Miami Valley
Tammy Coffin-Hana
Monday, October 01, 2012

Imagine for a moment that you don't know where you are, that you have lost track of time, or you don't know your name. That is hard to grasp right? If you have a beloved parent or other loved one with these symptoms, there is hope, and there is local support available.

Alzheimer’s Support in Dayton & the Miami Valley

The Miami Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer's Organization

Imagine for a moment that you don't know where you are, that you have lost track of time, or you don't know your name. That is hard to grasp right? Those of you reading this that can relate may have already experienced caring for a beloved parent or other loved one with these symptoms, but you had no clue where to turn and you just did the best you could. What about now? What is happening right now in your life and the life of your loved one? If are an adult child, friend, or other family member and you are reading this, there is hope, and there is local support available.

I had the pleasure to speak with Laurel Kerr, Director of Programs, from the Miami Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association yesterday. What I learned would make me stop to reflect on what is happening with my parents, both at the age of 66, and more importantly what would help me breathe and relax knowing that there is an organization here to help me every step of the way.

This article is to share with you this information that you have been searching for, as well as what you weren't expecting so that you know upfront you won't be alone!

How Alzheimer's Begins and What to Look For

Many of you reading this today probably think you know what Alzheimer's is, but as it turns out you are probably wrong. It's not really your fault, but it's simply what you perceive to be true about the early symptoms of Alzheimer's. In fact, what you are probably calling Dementia is in fact Alzheimer's. With that being said, Alzheimer's is what causes Dementia.

The 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s are:

  • Memory changes that disrupt daily life
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Changes in mood and personality

The first step is knowing what to look for, and once you can identify the symptoms it's important to go to the doctor. Identifying these symptoms can help you help your loved ones get the treatment they need by seeing the doctor early, rather than looking back later and wishing that you would have done something sooner.

Be aware folks that some making a diagnosis of Alzheimer's isn't always straightforward, and can take time. There are many different tests that are available, including some that may rule out other medical causes for symptoms that could be confused with Dementia. Once an Alzheimer's diagnosis has been made, then it's time to pick up the phone and call the Miami Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.

Why Early Detection Matters

As Laurel Kerr from the Miami Valley Chapter stated, Alzheimer's is the cause of Dementia, and there are various types of Dementia. The most common type is Vascular Dementia which is best treated from early onset. This is why early detection matters. It is also just as important that adult children or other loved ones learn the coping mechanisms to put into place. Legal issues, including power of attorneys (POA), are also important to take care of ahead of time as well, so that your loved ones will be protected and you can care for them as you need to without a struggle.

No matter what type of Dementia you and your loved ones are dealing with, call the Alzheimer's Association as soon as you have a diagnosis, so that you can get the help and the support that you need. The Miami Valley Chapter has staff on hand to sit down with you and listen to where you are now, what you are doing, and discuss with you what you CAN do moving forward. This is where you'll get the welcome relief that you can sleep at night knowing that everything is being taken care of so you can live each day without worry. There are also support groups that families may get involved and learn from each other. After all, no one knows better than those that are going through what you are going through! "Above all that we do here at the Chapter, the support groups are huge!" Kerr said. "This is where we stay connected outside of our everyday tasks and keep people educated."

Where You Can Learn More

Chatting with Laurel Kerr made it easy to see just how strong our Miami Valley Chapter for Alzheimer's Association is. Today, they will be at the West Carrollton Branch in the afternoon from 1:30-2:30 p.m., where they will be covering the 10 early signs and symptoms for your knowledge. In fact, they regularly hold dementia education programs, support groups and events for care partners and people living with dementia. For current programs and events, check their website at www.alz.org/dayton or call them at (937) 291-3332.

We also wanted to let you know about a huge event that is coming up in November with the Miami Valley Chapter. On November 29th from 4:30-7 p.m., an Alzheimer’s Education & Resource Forum, including dinner, will be held at Sinclair, and is only $10. Thanks to sponsorship for the event the cost is low and totally worth attending to learn more about what you can do to help those with Alzheimer's. Mary Mittelman from New York State University will be the keynote speaker, sharing her research regarding two primary interventions that were found to be effective with those suffering from Alzheimer's.

Visit the Miami Valley Chapter online at www.alz.org/dayton for more information about who to contact, support groups, the 10 early warning signs and more.

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About Tammy Coffin-Hana

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  • Related Profile:

    Alzheimer's Association Miami Valley

    Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.
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