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Mid-stage dementia brings new challenges

BY FRANCES WOMBLE

The Fredericksburg chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association will hold a series of classes next month for caregivers of people with dementia, focusing on the difficulties that emerge during the middle stage of the disease.

The classes, held on three consecutive Thursdays in March, aim to help caregivers understand the changes middle stage Alzheimer’s brings as well as to alert them to resources the Alzheimer’s Association provides.

There are seven stages of the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The first signs of middle stage Alzheimer’s—stages five and six—include memory decline, behavioral changes, increased difficulty performing daily tasks and language problems, said Lori Myers, branch coordinator of Fredericksburg Alzheimer’s Association.

Patients in this stage require a greater level of care than they did in the past. The “Living With Alzheimer’s: Middle Stage Caregiver” program will discuss what caregivers need to know, what they need to do and what they need to plan for.

The first class will address middle stage symptoms, communication, caregiving relationships and hospital preparation.

The following week will address behavior changes, medication management, home safety, living and driving environments, and the potential for patients to wander.

The last class will address in-home services, senior living options and caregiver needs.

According to Myers, more than 130,000 Virginians have Alzheimer’s, and there are more than 26,000 Alzheimer patients in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Greater Richmond chapter area.

“Unfortunately these numbers are continuing to go up,” Myers said. “Our need for resources for the families, and those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, will continue to increase.”

 All three classes in the upcoming series are free, but registration is required so the association can be sure  enough materials are available for each class member.

Class Information

WHAT: The Alzheimer’s Association’s Fredericksburg branch is hosting a series of Thursday afternoon classes for caregivers of people experiencing the middle stages of dementia.

WHEN: The first class, “What You Need to Know,” will be held March 1. The second class, “What You Need to Do,” will be held March 8. The third class, “What You Need to Plan,” will be held March 15.

WHAT TIME:  Each class is from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: Comfort Keepers, 419 Chatham Square Office Park

TO REGISTER: The class is free, but signing up is a must. Call 540/370-0835 or email lori.myers@alz.org.

Frances Womble:  540/374-5444

fwomble@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/healthyliving/2012/02/24/mid-stage-dementia-brings-new-challenges/

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