Reno Gazette-Journal Sunday, August 2, 2020
As we age, many of us become concerned about if and how we or a loved one may be affected by the aging brain. Does an aging brain necessarily mean we are likely to develop dementia?
Dementia effects many families and the desire for factual information was very evident last year with over 300 people attending the Retired Living Truth Seminar Series topic titled the “Truth About Dementia being Avoidable and Reversible”.
As was discussed at that seminar by leading experts, 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.
A diagnosis of dementia or increasing problems with memory loss often results in a flurry of emotions, multiple complex questions, and the making of both short and long term plans.
One of the biggest questions tends to be how long can (or should) I live at home? Couples struggle to agree on whether to remain in place or relocate, when and who to hire for support, and how to have conversations with others about their plans.
The hosts of the Retired Living Truth Series, Annette and Brett Junell, Downsizing Coaches and Realtors with Keller Williams Group One, said last year’s topic on Dementia 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 Junells 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 or parent 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 Stacey Taylor, the Executive Director at Clearwater at Rancharrah, a new local community providing assisted living services and memory support. “We understand the challenges that memory diseases can cause for both the individual who is coping with the disease and their family,” said Taylor.
Since that seminar last year, it has become very evident that there are many families in our community struggling with planning and making decisions as it relates to a loved one with dementia.
“We continually take calls from family members concerned about parents or a spouse with forgetfulness and good days and bad memory days”, said Junell. “Many families need help on how to have a conversation with their loved one about these changes or where to go for help and support.”
Several regular seminar attendees have said they are particularly interested in this topic as they are either dealing with this now or know this is something they will likely need to address in the future.
“During this 90-minute seminar, our panel of experts will dispel some of the dementia myths and provide us with the TRUTH about some of what we should know when helping a loved one with dementia.” said Junell.
Some of the topics which will be covered include:
– What are the advantages of having a diagnosis of dementia?
– When should I bring in help, why, and what options are available?
– When a family member has dementia, how long can, or should, that person live at home?
– What living options are available if someone is considering relocating and what should be considered in the short, medium and long term?
– How to start a conversation with a loved one who is exhibiting signs of early dementia.
– Who is available to help me?
These are just some of the many questions the panelists will address prior to taking questions from the audience.
For those interested in learning more, the seminar titled The Truth about The Aging Brain, will be held August 13 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. via Zoom or call in. The webinar is free to seniors and their guests.
Registration can be made online at www.RetiredLivingTruthSeries.com or by calling (775) 432-6398 to receive Zoom Webinar access & instructions.
The seminar is part of the ongoing Retired Living Truth Seminar Series organized by Annette & Brett Junell. The Junells are considered leading authorities on issues related to rightsizing, downsizing, late-life moves and (55+) senior living solutions. Their mission is to educate, empower and equip retirees. These free 90-minute educational seminars are held monthly and designed to help people make informed decisions.
Upcoming seminars in the Retired Living Truth Seminar Series include:
– September 8: The Truth about Going from We to Me
– October 8: The Truth about Finding Untapped Resources
– November 17: The Truth about Who Should be on Your Team
This article is sponsored by Annette & Brett Junell.