News Flash

Human Services

Posted on: January 4, 2016

Learn skills to deal with initial diagnosis of Alzheimer’s

Pierce County Community Connections Aging and Disability Resources is hosting a repeat series of the popular “Oh My Gosh – Now What?” The 6-part series of discussions for families and individuals focuses on the initial journey through Alzheimer’s and other Dementias starts on Jan. 13 at the Active Retirement and Senior Club in Gig Harbor. The series covers the warning signs and symptoms, managing behaviors, the disease progress, legal concerns, financial issues and local resources.

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.

“Oh My Gosh – Now What?” will be led by Jessica Girard and Kris Sawyers-Dowling, two case managers with Aging and Disability Resources who specialize in providing practical help to families in the early stages of the disease. The schedule for sessions is:

  • Jan. 13 – “What is Dementia? What are the warning signs?”
  • Jan. 27 – “How does the disease progress? What should I expect?”
  • Feb. 10 – “How do I start the conversation? How do I cope with the shock?”
  • Feb. 24 – “What are the typical moods and behaviors? How do I manage them?”
  • March 9 – “How do I pay for care? What are the legal things I should do?
  • March 23 – “Where can I turn for help? What are the resources I can rely on?”
All session will be held Wednesday afternoons from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Active Retirement & Senior Club, 8502 Skansie Ave. in Gig Harbor. People can attend any or all of the discussions. Sessions are free and open to all. No RSVP is required. In case of inclement weather call (253) 798-8787 for possible postponement.

“We have been amazed at how this series of presentations has been received,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, manager of Aging and Disability Resources. “There is definitely an interest. The prevalence of Alzheimer’s and other dementias is growing rapidly. Currently there are over 150,000 Washingtonians with Alzheimer's or a related dementia. That number will triple by 2050. There are over 5.2 million Americans who 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. We hope these presentations will help families with information and resources to make their job easier.”

“Oh My Gosh – Now What?” is sponsored by Pierce County Community Connections Aging and Disability Resources (ADR). For additional information about the series call the Aging and Disability Resource Center at (253) 798-4600.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Bob Riler, Community Connections
(253) 798-7384
briler@co.pierce.wa.us

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