County hosts sessions on handling dementia

Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources will host a new series of presentations on Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, including the warning signs and symptoms, managing behaviors, the progression of the disease, legal concerns, financial issues and local resources.

The six-part series, titled “Oh My Gosh – Now What?”, will start on Jan. 3 and continue into March at the Point Defiance-Ruston Senior Center.

The sessions, which are free, will be led by Kris Sawyers-Dowling and Jessica Girard, case managers with Aging and Disability Resources who specialize in coping with memory loss.  The schedule, including the topics to be covered, includes:

  • Jan. 3, “What is Dementia? What are the warning signs?”
  • Jan. 17, “How does the disease progress? What should I expect?”
  • Jan. 31, “How do I start the conversation and cope with the shock?”
  • Feb. 7, “What are the typical moods and behaviors? How do I manage them?”
  • Feb. 21, “How do I pay for care? What are the legal things I should do?
  • March 7, “Where can I turn for help, and what are the resources?”

All sessions will be held from 11 a.m. to noon. The senior center is at 4716 N. Baltimore St. in Tacoma.  Lunch will be provided after each one.  RSVPs to attend are requested by calling 253-756-0601.

Aaron Van Valkenburg, manager of Aging and Disability Resources, a program of Pierce County government, noted that for people 65 and older, the “risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia doubles roughly every five years. There are many myths about Alzheimer’s, and the Internet is filled with misinformation. The best thing any family can do is get accurate, helpful information from reliable sources.”

Additional information about the dementia information series is available from the Aging and Disability Resource Center at 253-798-4600.