November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

St. Coletta of Wisconsin is proud to serve and care for individuals with developmental disabilities, these individuals range across the age spectrum from fresh out of high school to the golden years.

Through the Golden Options program, we care and provide for senior individuals with developmental disabilities, ageing, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Since November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, it is important to care for those with this illness.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with an individual’s daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia-based cases.  Although age is one of the greatest risk factors, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older, it is not a part of normal ageing. Up to 5 percent of people with Alzheimer’s have early-onset (or younger-onset) Alzheimer’s which often crops up in those between the ages of 40 and 50 years.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where symptoms gradually worsen over time. In its early stages, the memory loss is mild, but in later stages, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their surroundings. Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.  Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are medications available to temporarily slow the progression and worsening of the symptoms and improve the quality of life for those affected. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.

Beth Alexander, Program Coordinator for Golden Options, helps clients with Alzheimer’s and dementia by following St. Coletta’s guidelines based from the Franciscan values of dignity and respect.

“An individual with dementia or Alzheimer’s is treated the same way you would treat anyone in the community.” says Alexander. “We help them by working with their strengths instead of their weaknesses, as we do with all clients with disabilities.”

The Golden Options program works with our senior clients with developmental disabilities and/or dementia based illnesses. Our team of specialists and registered nurses include certified Alzheimer and dementia specialists who are trained to respond to a client’s specific needs. Participants who attend take part in activities that promote physical and mental stimulation which are important to health and wellness.

Communities in Jefferson County also offer service and awareness through the Jefferson Count Community Dementia Network. The group meetings are on the 4th Monday of each month at the Fort Atkinson library from 5pm-6pm.

More information on Alzheimer’s and dementia can be found at http://www.alz.org/

For more information on Golden Options, contact Beth Alexander: 920-674-8252/ gro.iwattelocts@rednaxelab

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