Reno Gazette-Journal Sunday, May 19, 2019
by Eddie Roach
Dementia effects many families and the desire for factual information was evident this past Thursday, May 16. 220 plus locals attempted to register to attend a free local seminar titled the “Truth About Dementia being Avoidable and Reversible”. With a venue capacity of 150, many of those who wished to attend were unable to do so. Given the demand and amazing feedback of attendees, the hosts have scheduled a “repeat” seminar for May 31.
As was discussed at the seminar, a common myth about dementia is that it is a natural part of aging, but it’s not.
According to the expert panelists, “Dementia is a loss of thinking, remembering, and reasoning skills. It is not a normal part of aging.”
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that about 40 percent of people over the age of 65 experience some memory loss on occasion. This is referred to as “age-associated memory impairment.” However, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are considered brain diseases which can cause significant memory loss.
So, what are some of the other myths about dementia? To help answer this question for more senior adults wishing to attend, the hosts of the monthly Retired Living Truth Seminar Series are bringing back the experts in aging for a second session to address the stigma, common myths and answer attendee questions about dementia.
The hosts of the Retired Living Truth Series, Annette and Brett Junell, Downsizing Coaches and Realtors with Keller Williams Group One, said this topic came about as a growing number of retirees they help with downsizing moves have a spouse or family member dealing with the unique challenges of dementia.
A number of years ago the Junell’s worked with a couple who were looking to downsize from their two-story family home of 30 years into a smaller, more manageable single level townhome.
“I recall how heart breaking it was working with Dennis and Sandra Rosewood,” Brett Junell said. “The reason they needed to move was that Sandra’s dementia was progressing, and Dennis didn’t feel she was safe in their current home. We could see the pain in Dennis’ eyes as he conveyed the difficulties of caring for his wife as the primary caregiver.”
Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of daily living.
“Some clients haven’t truly realized that their spouse has signs of early dementia or in other cases what resources and support are available to help a family member who is a caregiver, often a spouse.” Annette Junell said.
“This is such an important topic”, said Jim Cox, an active participant in the Alzheimer’s Association and Executive Director at Cascades of the Sierra Senior Living, a local community providing retirement senior living, assisted living services and memory care and Alzheimer’s care. “We understand the challenges that memory diseases can cause for both the individual who is coping with the disease and their family,” said Cox who will be a panelist at the May 31 seminar.
Joe Bower, a regular seminar attendee since 2017, said he was particularly interested in this topic as his mother had dementia while he was a young man. At the time, Bower didn’t know that the symptoms he recalls her exhibiting were Alzheimer’s until after she had passed away. “This just wasn’t something that was talked about back then.” he said. When asked why he keeps coming to the seminars, Bower said “I’m always learning something new and getting information that I hadn’t gotten elsewhere due to the wide range of quality experts the Junell’s bring in to speak.”
Expert panel to answer questions
“As we age, many of us become concerned about if and how we or a loved one may be affected by dementia,” Brett Junell said. “During this 90-minute seminar, our panel of experts will dispel some of the dementia myths and provide us with the TRUTH about dementia and what each of us needs to know as we age.”
Given the outstanding feedback from attendees of the panelists and the seminar on May 16, two of the panelists can be back on May 31 and they are:
– Dr. Jennifer Carson, Ph.D, Director, Dementia Engagement, Education and Research Program, University of Nevada, Reno; Dr. Carson has 30 years of practical experience in the fields of long-term care and aging services. She is a critical gerontologist who works to envision and develop opportunities to improve the inclusion and well-being of older adults, with a particular interest in persons living with dementia.
– Dr. Kelley Macmillan, Ph.D., Director Community and Social Services, Sanford Center for Aging, University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. Macmillan is a professional social worker with educational preparation in psychology (BA), mental health and family therapy (MSW), social work, gerontology and geriatrics (Ph.D.). He uses his more than 20 years experience to serve clients and families in the Sanford Center Geriatric Clinic.
Some of the topics which will be covered include:
- How you might be able to avoid, reduce or delay dementia.
- Warning signs and what to do.
- Dementia-like symptoms that may be reversible.
- Dementia and the effects on moving/transition.
- How to help yourself or a loved one with dementia
The “Truth About Dementia being Avoidable and Reversible” seminar will be held on May 31 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the RSAR Building at 5650 Riggins Court, Reno (near Meadowood Mall).
The seminars are free for seniors and their guests and pre-registration is required as seating is limited.
Reservations can be made online at www.RetiredLivingTruthSeries.com or by calling (775) 432-6398.
Other upcoming seminars in the Retired Living Truth Series include:
- June 20: The Truth About Selling the Family Home
- July 18: The Truth About Living, Dying and Leaving a Legacy
- August 15: The Truth About Trusts, Wills and Guardianship
- September 12: The Truth About Home Health & In-home Care
- October 24: The Truth About Paying for Retirement Living
- November 21: The Truth About 55+ Retired Living Options
- December 19: The Truth About Successful Aging
This article is sponsored by Annette & Brett Junell