Talking about memory loss

A six-part series of discussions about memory loss for individuals with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, their families and caregivers will begin in September, hosted by Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources.

Topics (under the title of “Oh My Gosh, Now What?”) will include warning signs and symptoms, managing behavior, how the disease progresses, legal and financial issues, and local resources. All sessions will be held Mondays from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Bonney Lake Senior Center, 19304 Bonney Lake Blvd E. Any or all of the free discussions are open to the public. 

The schedule:

• Sept 9, “What is Dementia? What are the warning signs?”

• Sept 16, “How does the disease progress? What should I expect?”

• Sept 23, “How do I start the conversation? How do I cope with the shock?”

• Sept 30, “What are the typical moods and behaviors? How do I manage them?”

• Oct 7, “How do I pay for care? What are the legal things I should do?”

• Oct 14, “Where can I turn for help? What are the resources I can rely on?”

The sessions—which will be led by case managers with Aging and Disability Resources, a county government program that helps individuals and families coping with memory loss—can help people be alert to and prepare for dementia, said Aaron Van Valkenburg, the program manager.

“We all value our memories,” said Van Valkenburg. “In fact, 82 percent of seniors say it’s important to have their thinking or memory checked. But only 16 percent say they receive regular cognitive assessments. That puts an enormous burden on spouses, families and friends to watch for the tell-tale signs of confusion or memory loss.”

Additional information about the series is available at 253-798-4600.