Dementia caregivers support group moves to the library | ParkRecord.com

Dementia caregivers support group moves to the library

Kate Nederostek, program director of the Utah Chapter of the AlzheimerÕs Association, said more than 29,000 individuals in Utah have been diagnosed with AlzheimerÕs Disease and a caregiversÕ support group meets monthly in Summit County. (Courtesy of the AlzheimerÕs Association Utah Chapter)

The Utah Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association will relocate its monthly caregivers’ support group to the Summit County Library Kimball Junction Branch, beginning on Wednesday, March 16.

The sessions, which were held at the Applegate Homecare & Hospice, will still meet every third Wednesday of the month from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m., according to program director Kate Nederostek.

"These sessions will still be free of charge and are designed to help caregivers of individuals with dementia," Nederostek told The Park Record. "It’s a safe, comfortable and open-formatted program and facilitated by trained individuals where dementia caregivers can come and connect with other dementia caregivers who are dealing with the same issues and concerns."

The sessions typically start with introductions of new attendees, who will be able to voice their concerns and ask questions, Nederostek said.

"We want those people to be able to get whatever they need to off their chests," she

said.

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The group is also a good place to build networks.

"We also want others who have attended the groups before and who may feel they are doing well to still feel the support of the group," Nederostek said. "We want everyone to build the support that is vital to help these caregivers guide their loved ones through this journey of dementia.

"Many people may feel no one understands what they are going through until they come to a support group," she said. "There, they realize they’re not alone and there are many people they can connect with."

In addition to moral support, the group also provides caregivers information regarding other resources that are available to them.

"During these support groups, caregivers will learn about various organizations and realize there is help out there," Nederostek said. "Because they haven’t been told about an organization or service, they tend to go at this alone and their stress levels build up to the point where it becomes unmanageable."

There are many reasons for the stress.

"Some caregivers don’t have family or friend support," Nederostek said. "Again they’ll try to be everything for those who have dementia and not focus on their own needs."

Sometimes caretakers who have family nearby are caught up in a disagreement with other family members.

"There are many occasions where [they] won’t agree on how to care for the person with dementia or what the next step should be," Nederostek said. "These are things the Alzheimer’s Association can help with."

Sometimes just knowing the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia helps caregivers focus on their patients’ needs.

"Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia," Nederostek said. "Dementia on the other hand isn’t in and of itself a diagnosis. It’s an umbrella term that describes a group of symptoms that individuals experience, and depending on the type of dementia you have, you will experience different symptoms."

There are 29,000 individuals in Utah whgo have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, according to Nederostek.

"That breaks down to 10 percent of our senior-citizen population," she said. "For those aged 65 and older, one in nine is living with Alzheimer’s and there are one in three who are aged 85 and older. And there are many more who are not diagnosed."

However, Alzheimer’s isn’t just a problem facing senior citizens.

"One of the first and foremost misconceptions is that it’s a normal part of aging," Nederostek said. "Individuals will see the symptoms of confusion and memory loss and won’t go to the doctor because they think it’s natural. But there are a number of younger people who develop Alzheimer’s disease."

In addition to the monthly support-group meetings, the Utah Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association have planned other Summit County events.

  • The first will be the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Kick Off Party that will be held Wednesday, March 9, at the Swaner EcoCenter, 1258 Center Dr. at Kimball Junction.

    The event, which is free and open to the public, will run from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and will feature resources and information about the disease.

  • The next is an education workshop series that will be held on the third Wednesday of the month, starting April 20. These sessions will differ from the monthly support group sessions in that they will run from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and will cover certain topics per session.

    The topic for April 20 will be "Know the 10 Signs-Early Detection Matters."

    These sessions are free, but registration is required. Registration can be done by calling 1-800-272-3900.

  • The last event is an education conference that will be held May 3 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 1505 White Pine Canyon Rd. Times and details will be announced soon.

    The Utah Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association was formed in 1982 and is one of 80 chapters located across the country, Nederostek said.

    For more information, visit http://www.alz.org/utah .

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