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Posted on: September 4, 2015

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?”, a 6-part series of discussions for families and individuals about the initial journey through Alzheimer’s and other Dementias. The series in Lakewood will cover the warning signs, talk about symptoms, managing behaviors, the progress of the disease, legal concerns, financial issues and resources for help and support.

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:

  • Sept. 14 (6 to 7 p.m.) – “What is Dementia? What are the warning signs?”
  • Sept. 28 (6 to 7 p.m.) – “How does the disease progress? What should I expect?”
  • Oct. 12 (6 to 7 p.m.) – “How do I start the conversation? How do I cope with the shock?”
  • Oct. 26 (6 to 7 p.m.) – “What are the typical moods and behaviors? How do I manage them?”
  • Nov. 2 (6 to 7 p.m.) – “How do I pay for care? What are the legal things I should do?
  • Nov. 16 (6 to 7 p.m.) – “Where can I turn for help? What are the resources I can rely on?”
All sessions will be held at the Lakewood Senior Activity Center, 9112 Lakewood Dr. SW in Lakewood. People can attend any or all of the discussions. Sessions are free and open to all. No RSVP is required.

“The prevalence of Alzheimer’s and other dementias is growing rapidly,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, manager of Aging and Disability Resources. “Currently there are over 150,000 Washingtonians with Alzheimer's or a related dementia – a number expected to triple by 2050. Nationally over 5.2 million Americans 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. Until a cure is found, our goal is to help families with care, information and resources.”

“Oh My Gosh – Now What?” is sponsored by Pierce County Community Connections Aging and Disability Resources (ADR) in collaboration with local community partners. 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

Mark Kruger Leavitt, Community Connections
253-798-4336
mkruge1@co.pierce.wa.us

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