It’s a family disease

Pam Yocom

Mom and Dad moved to Sun Lakes, AZ, 10 years ago. Dad loved to play golf, and mom enjoyed several hobbies. They developed many new friendships. I travel a lot for my company, so I get to see Mom and Dad every few months.

What happened next changed our life. Dad was diagnosed with early dementia. Mom told no one in the family.

One day, I arrived on my often surprise, fun-filled visit to see them. I found Mom at the kitchen table with lots papers, calendar, phone numbers. She looked tired and frightened. I was shocked, confused and angry that she did not reach out to tell us about what was going on six months earlier.

I had so many questions. What really is dementia? Will he need medication? Special doctors? What about our insurance? My biggest question, what about Mom? I had so many questions I didn’t know where to start. Now that this is a part of our lives, we’ve started making adjustments. My mom is now my dad’s carer, which basically means she looks after him every day, although she did that anyway. We’ve done a little research into a memory care facility to see if that helps him. If anything, the facility will enhance his dignity whilst reducing stress.

A program entitled Living with Dementia – Everyday Tools for Caregivers is being held in the Sun Lakes Country Club, Navajo Room, 25601 S. Sun Lakes Blvd., on Thursday, June 21, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (registration begins at 9:30 a.m.).

Topics and Speakers are: Care for the Caregiver – Heather Chapple, BSEd, Hospice of the Valley. Caring for a loved one can be both rewarding and challenging. Learn how to optimize your loved one’s well-being and take care of yourself in the process.

Communication, Conversation and Everyday Tasks – Elaine Poker-Yount, CDP, Visiting Angels East Valley. Often, just a few tweaks to the way we communicate, along with some insight as to how someone with dementia might see or understand everyday tasks like bathing, getting dressed or being ready by a certain time, can make all the difference to smooth daily struggles and create easier interactions.

Meaningful Connections – Christie Bonner, LMSW, Hospice of the Valley Dementia Program. Learn how to create meaningful, positive experiences for someone experiencing dementia. Sensory engagement can bring connection, enrichment and contentment to individuals who struggle with language and cognitive impairment.

Long-term Care – Francisco Sirvent, Attorney at Law, Keystone Law Firm. Plan for your long-term care without going bankrupt. When long-term care insurance is no longer a choice for you, learn how it’s possible to prepare your nest egg so that you can have the care you need without losing your assets to a nursing home.

To make your reservations, call MAC Volunteers SLCC, Pam Yocom at 480-734-8081, [email protected], or Denis White at 480-857-6783, [email protected]

There is no charge for this event. Refreshments and a light Lunch will be provided. Reservations must be made before Wednesday, June 13, 2018.

Free Care for your loved one during the seminar: The Perfect Place Adult Day Services offers programs in a safe, secure and caring environment for adults experiencing memory loss or just needing fun and fellowship with other seniors. It is located on the campus of Risen Savior Lutheran Church, 23914 S. Alma School Road in Chandler.

As caregivers attend the event, their loved ones may attend The Perfect Place, at no cost to you, to enjoy fellowship, games, chair exercises, music, refreshments and much more. Please contact The Perfect Place office at 480-895-2892 by Friday, June 15, to reserve a spot for your loved one.

This event is made possible by the generous donations from the Sun Lakes Women’s Association, Hospice of the Valley, Visiting Angels East Valley, Keystone Law Firm and The Perfect Place. v