Dementia and Alzheimer's classes open to public

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - An organization is working to keep Region 8 residents informed about dementia and Alzheimer.

The Schmieding Home Caregiver Training facility in Jonesboro offered a class on dementia on Wednesday to the public. The purpose of this class was to discuss the disease, the effects it can have, caregiver tools and skills one can use.

RN Coordinator for Schmieding, Linda Willey, says when someone suffers from one of these diseases everyone is affected. "Memory loss interrupts daily life," Willey said. "No matter whom it is. But it really interrupts the daily life of the family member. So, we want to help the family members understand how to deal with loved ones with dementia and Alzheimer's by communication. By teaching them their behavioral issues involved and how to take care of them physically. We also talk to them about the disease itself."

Willey says people often know little to nothing about the disease until someone they know is being affected. "One of the misconceptions is that it is hereditary and it's not. There are many different facets of it. Some of the people living with it live moment by moment. Some days you're up and you can do almost everything normal. The next day you might be bed bound and you don't know where you are or who your loved one is."

Region 8 resident Verneal Hodge says she's no stranger to the disease, having cared for her mother who suffered from the disease. Now, Verneal has other family members with the disease she's trying to take care of. "I got the newsletter through the mail," Hodge said. "I was going through it and looking at it and I saw the class and it looked very interesting and I thought when I looked at it that's just what I need right there."

Willey says education is the key to dealing with this. "If you don't know how to take care of them a lot of times you get frustrated and you do have caregiver burn out," Willey said. "So, we want to be educated. Education is our tool to success in this disease."

Hodge said she was impressed with the information she got from the class.

"So far, I like everything I've heard," Hodge stated. "I think this would be a very good thing for all counties to have because dementia and Alzheimer's are getting more and more prevalent. And people like me that don't have a medical history and haven't been in classes to learn this, we need all the information we can get for our family members because it's much better they be at home than put in a nursing home."

Hodge says people need to start talking to get solutions. "This is something that's nothing to be ashamed of," Hodge said. "It's something that could happen to any of us and supposedly a lot of us in the future. And I think the more informed we are about it the better are chances in finding answers to the problems."

Schmieding Home Caregiver Training is holding four classes in both the spring and in the fall. Willey says they are providing people with a syllabus for reference to take with them. At the end of the class, they also give attendees a number of different resources they can turn to for information and support.

For more information about the Schmieding Home Caregiver Training, you can log onto theirwebsite.

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