November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and Caregiver Recognition Month in PdC

Mayor Dave Hemmer (seated) signed a proclamation making November Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and Caregiver Recognition Month in Prairie du Chien. Co-sponsors of the proclamation include (back row, from left) Mary Jane Faas, chairwoman, Aging and Disability Resource Center Board; Joan Litwitz, program director, Alzheimer’s Association; Mary Mara, community health educator for Partners and volunteer coordinator, Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital; Karen Ulrich, recreational therapist, Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital and Walter Schmidt Assisted Living; Ruth Skelly and Dawn Arnold, co-presidents of Partners of PdC Memorial Hospital. Not pictured: Susan Price, volunteer coordinator, LEEPS.

Prairie du Chien Mayor Dave Hemmer signed a resolution proclaiming the month of November Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and Caregiver Recognition Month in the city. Co-sponsors of the proclamation are the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Eagle Country–Prairie du Chien office, the Alzheimer’s Association, Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital, Partners of PdC Memorial Hospital, Walter Schmidt Assisted Living, and the LEEPS research study. All of the sponsoring organizations are local community resources who work together to offer a unified effort in support of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, their caregivers, and their families.

Every day, millions of American families experience the difficult reality of Alzheimer’s disease, an irreversible and progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. In Prairie du Chien alone, it is estimated that by the year 2035, approximately one in four people over the age of 65 will have some form of dementia.

Sponsors of the proclamation call upon Prairie du Chien area residents to “observe this month with appropriate activities and programs, and by showing sensitivity to the challenges that individuals and families confront throughout the progression of the disease.”

The ADRC encourages older people and people with disabilities to stay active and healthy as one of the keys to maintaining their independence. They offer education and prevention programs and services to help people protect their health and welfare, including free memory screenings. They also offer information and assistance to help family caregivers care for their loved ones, including those with Alzheimer’s disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association offers support and guidance to families touched by dementia throughout the course of their disease. Through personal consultations, education, and access to resources, the Alzheimer’s Association advocates for the best quality of life for all those affected.

The Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital and Walter Schmidt Assisted Living facility provide meaningful activities for a wide range of patients and residents dealing with many types of dementia. Recreation therapy provides structure, diversion, and stimulation along with opportunities for socialization and enjoyment with others in group settings, community settings, or on a one-to-one basis, depending upon the needs of the individual. Activities are adapted to provide opportunities for success and to assist in maintaining as much independence and pride as possible.

The Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital Partners is a group of enthusiastic volunteers who help link the hospital to the community. Wherever they find a need, Partners is there to fill in the gap, help raise funds, advocate, support, promote, and serve as ambassador, to name only a few of their volunteer activities.

Language Enriched Exercise Plus Socialization (LEEPS) is a research study through the University of Wisconsin–Madison, offering a free exercise and social outing program for people with memory loss. The program enables participants to work closely with a trained community volunteer to maintain flexibility, strength, and balance through regular exercise. They also offer cognitive, social, and volunteer activities.

Exercises are generally done in the participant’s home one day each week for about an hour.

If you are interested in learning more about any of these organizations or how you or a loved one can volunteer or participate, call the ADRC–Prairie du Chien office at 326-0235.

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