She would lose track and take two doses of her medication, instead of one. Then she would complain that someone, inexplicably, must be stealing her medicine.
With increasing frequency, she struggled to remember the words to complete sentences.
Her concerned daughters couldn’t understand what was happening to their mother.
“Her brain is dying,” said Teepa Snow, a nationally renowned dementia care and education specialist from North Carolina. “But there’s a part that still works.”
Ms. Snow will present a free public workshop, “Understanding Dementia Care: Essentials for Your Journey Together,” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. today in auditoriums A and B at ProMedica St. Luke’s Hospital, Maumee. A meet-and-greet session with Ms. Snow will start an hour before the workshop.
The program is designed to educate and help the public develop skills to assist loved ones who suffer from dementia, said Bob Hoorman, who with his wife, Emily, co-owns Senior Helpers of Northwest Ohio.
Senior Helpers provides trained, state-tested caregivers for people suffering from dementia.
The caregivers provide a variety of nonmedical services, which include accompanying clients with grocery shopping and other errands, making sure proper medication doses are being taken, and monitoring clients' behavior.
Charges range between $10 and $20 per hour, Mr. Hoorman said.
According to the National Alzheimer’s Society, the term dementia describes a set of symptoms including memory loss, mood changes, and communication and reasoning difficulties.
Dementia is a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental process caused by brain disease or injury.
There are hundreds of different forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, the most common type of the disease.
According to an April, 2012, study by the World Health Organization, 35.6 million people in the world have dementia, with 7.7 million new cases annually.
By 2050, the number of cases is expected to nearly triple, to 115.4 million people, Ms. Snow said.
“It is the epidemic of the 21st century,” she said.
Although genetics accounts for some people getting dementia, other risks include poor diets and sleeping habits, high stress levels, and sedentary lifestyles, said Ms. Snow, who has more than 30 years of experience in geriatrics.
Although there is no cure for dementia, medications and developing new life skills can slow its progress, she said.
People who learn to recognize dementia's early signs can get patients started on medication and adapt their own skills to communicate, Ms. Snow said.
“And learn to laugh at yourself and at the things that don’t work,” she said. “It’s OK to cry a little bit.”
Besides the public events, a program specifically for health-care professionals will be held from 12:45 to 4:30 p.m., with a fee of either $20 or $35, depending on accreditation.
For more information or to register for the event, contact Senior Helpers of Northwest Ohio at 419-794-1090 or visit its Web site,seniorhelpers.com. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is an event co-sponsor.
Contact Federico Martinez at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6154.