Alzheimer’s and brain awareness month
June can be a busy month filled with summer activities, trips to the cabin, and time with your family. But for many people, June is much more – its Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Many of the people that we serve at The Adult Day Center at the Lakewood Worship and Service Center in Maplewood, Minn. are effected by Alzheimer’s and brain diseases.
One of these people is Richard, who’s been coming to the program for one year. In 2011, Richard was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Because of Richard’s diagnosis he needs round-the-clock care. Two times a week, Ginny (pictured), his wife and primary caretaker, drops him off for a day of activities, community, and socialization.
“I think it’s important for him to socialize with someone other than me. While he’s here I’m free to grocery shop, go to appointments, exercise, attend a support group or simply rest,” said Ginny.
Today there are 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. Many of them need continual care. Because of safety concerns, most families would be forced to put their loved ones into a nursing home, but the Adult Day Center provides another option.
Shawn (pictured) is a caregiver to his wife, Tina who was diagnosed with early onset Frontotemporal Deterioration (FTD) six years ago.
Tina wasn’t a good fit for traditional Alzheimer’s programs. Shawn had heard about the Adult Day Center through a support group, and after a year, they haven’t looked back.
“I can have trouble getting her to go to other appointments, but when I say ‘It’s club day!’ She’ll beat me to the car every time,” said Shawn.
That’s exactly how Director NancyLee Dahlin wants every guest to feel – excited to come to the program and comfortable once they’re there.
“They don’t have to worry if they are saying the right words or not,” she explained. “They don’t have to worry if they are doing something wrong. They can just be themselves,” said Dahlin.
The center’s programming is designed to stimulate the mind and body. Participants with a wide range of abilities can enjoy gardening, yoga, games, singing, special events, and much more.
“It’s such a relief that for one whole day I don’t have to worry about her well-being, her entertainment, or her safety,” said Shawn.
Staff members and volunteers are dedicated to ensuring that each day is unique, that the participants feel empowered to join in activities at their own comfort level.
“I can’t say enough good things about this program. The dignity, individuality, and respect that the staff shows is amazing,” said Shawn. “I wish we had found this program earlier.”
The Adult Day Center program is licensed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services to serve guests who are 18 or older. We are open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Attendance varies based on guest needs and center availability.
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