MARSHALL - Caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer's disease or dementia is not an easy task. But it's not one that area residents have to face alone. A group of local care providers is having an educational event on dementia and memory loss this week.
The event starts at 3 p.m. on Thursday, in the fellowship hall of First Lutheran Church in Marshall. Family caregivers, professional care providers and community members are all welcome to attend, said Jaen Weilage. Weilage, a community representative for Golden Living Center in southwest Minnesota, is one of the people helping to organize the event.
More than 35 million people worldwide have Alzheimer's disease, and Weilage said the need for community information and support resources is growing.
Thursday's event will include two different sessions, Weilage said. In one, Karen Christensen, a consultant for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Memory Care in Redwood County, will talk about ways to prepare for the holiday season. Holiday celebrations can put added pressure on people caring for a loved one with dementia, Weilage said. Christensen will share tips on how both caregivers and care recipients can have a less stressful experience.
The second session at Thursday's event will discuss support services and options that are available year-round in the Marshall area.
"We really want to highlight things that are in place," Weilage said. Jackie Esping, director of the Avera Marshall Adult Day Program, said there have also been different events in the Marshall region to help educate professional caregivers on memory loss.
Esping said informational materials from the Alzheimer's Association will be available for attendees at this week's event, and there will also be discussion on ways to build up support groups. For example, Esping said, one possibility might be forming a "memory cafe" group, where people with memory loss and their caregivers can get to know each other in an informal setting.
Weilage said the event is being sponsored by One Voice for Seniors, a local group interested in providing both social and educational gatherings for Marshall area community members. Group members thought a talk on dementia and related issues was especially appropriate this month. November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month, as well as Family Caregivers Month, Esping said.
Registration for Thursday's event is welcome but not necessary. Community members are encouraged to contact Jaen Weilage at 828-6261, or Jackie Esping at 537-9143, to register or if they have questions about the event. Arrangements can also be made with Esping for respite care for family members of people interested in attending.
The event will be free, but free will donations will be accepted to help cover costs.