ANDERSON — It’s a word with which we’ve become all too familiar. Alzheimer’s disease is a fearsome and increasingly prevalent diagnosis. In the United States, we see one of the highest rates of the disease worldwide, a distinction shared with other developed, wealthy countries, according to data from the World Health Organization.
“It is a horrible disease,” said Kirby Cunningham, director of CAREgiver experience at Home Instead Senior Care. “By age 85, there’s a nearly 50 percent chance of Alzheimer’s or some kind of dementia. We want to learn how to prevent that.”
That’s why Home Instead and its caregivers are hosting an Alzheimer’s Blowout this Saturday. They’ve designed a fun family-friendly event from noon to 5 p.m. in the parking lot of Madison Park Church of God Scatterfield Site, 2604 N. Scatterfield Road. The carnival will include a bounce house, face painting, games and prizes that spell fun for kids. Food will also be available including the temptation of a bake sale.
Funds raised through the event will go to the Alzheimer’s Association. Information about Alzheimer’s disease will also be available on-site.
“This is World Alzheimer’s Month and we’re trying to make it count,” said Joe Wrin, founder of Home Instead Senior Care. “We have no cure in sight ... We’re still in outer space with this.”
Home Instead is a non-medical home health care company, with plenty of experience caring for Alzheimer’s patients. Their CARE program (an acronym for Changing Aging through Research and Education) incorporates training for caregivers that helps patients remain in their homes longer and live independently in a safe way.
Caregivers are trained to speak in a way that allows patients to feel more in control. They learn a variety of techniques to manage behaviors, and to stimulate memory usage.
“The more you use your brain, the longer it will stay active and well,” said Cunningham.
Home Instead is also offering a free Alzheimer’s CARE training workshop on Tuesday, Sept. 17, also at Madison Park’s Scatterfield Site, with two sessions available. The first session runs from 9 a.m. to noon, and the second session from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. One need attend only a single session.
The workshop details the CARE program developed by Home Instead. It “incorporates an innovative, hands-on approach to help families deal with the difficult behavioral changes that often are associated with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.” Caregivers will learn how to manage behaviors, encourage engagement and care for themselves while caring for their loved one. It’s also an opportunity to get to know others caring for a loved one with dementia. Call 643-5200 to reserve a spot.
“We’re trying to educate families,” said Wrin. He came into the field after personal family experience, founding Anderson’s Home Instead seven years ago. Now, there are 105 caregivers in the field locally, and six on staff, with a focus on compassionate caregiving.
On Oct. 5, Shadyside Park in Anderson is the place to be for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Registration starts at 9 a.m. An opening ceremony takes place at 10 a.m., and the walk commences at 10:30 a.m. Funds raised will support the work of the Alzheimer’s Association.
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Upcoming events What: Alzheimer's Blowout, a family fun event hosted by Home Instead Senior Care When: Saturday, Sept. 14, noon to 5 p.m. Where: Parking lot of Madison Park Church of God Scatterfield Site, 2604 N. Scatterfield Road, Anderson What: Alzheimer's Care Training workshop by Home Instead Senior Care When: Tuesday, Sept. 17. Attend one session, either 9 a.m. to noon or 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Where: Madison Park Church of God Scatterfield Site, 2604 N. Scatterfield Road, Anderson Reservations: The workshop is free. Call 643-5200 to reserve a spot or get more info.