In an effort to help support the estimated 12,000 people impacted by dementia in Cache Valley, the Sunshine Terrace Foundation will be hosting a five-week seminar for caregivers.
The Dementia Dialogues begins Wednesday and will continue each consecutive week until the conclusion of the seminar March 7. Held at Sunshine Terrace, 248 W. 300 North in Logan, the class will meet from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
Certified trainers Dennis Wildman and Amy Anderson will facilitate the weekly discussion aimed at helping to equip caregivers in all capacities with information about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.
“Dementia is a symptom and not a disease,” Anderson said. “Getting the proper diagnosis and treatments vary with the underlying cause.”
Anderson said Utah estimates indicate nearly 12,000 within the valley have a connection with someone dealing with dementia-related issues.
“In Cache Valley it is either the person who has the disease or those who are helping to provide the caregiving,” Anderson said. “Having 10 percent of those in Cache Valley impacted is some way is a big number.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it was estimated that in 2017 there were 30,000 Utahns with Alzheimer’s. That number is projected to increase by 40 percent by 2025.
Alzheimer’s, which is the most common form of dementia, has no cure and impacts numerous aspects of one’s life, including memory and behavior, Anderson said.
“One of the main benefits of the Dementia Dialogues is understanding the disease and what things can be done to manage,” Anderson said. “Learning what to look for and how to better assess the person you are caring for will help to provide better care.”
Having gone through a state-sponsored training, Wildman and Anderson are part of a Utah initiative started in 2012 to help address the growing number of dementia cases statewide.
While aimed at family caregivers, Anderson said anyone impacted by Alzheimer’s or related dementia are welcomed to attend.
“Individuals who may be helping a neighbor or church member can attend as well as family caregivers,” Anderson said. “Our plan is to offer this quarterly, and it is our commitment to get this information into the hands of the community.”
In the future, Anderson said organizers will look at possibly hosting the classes later in the evening or on weekends to allow more people to attend. Although encouraged, attendance at each class is not required.
“The classes will be held in the Great Room at Sunshine and it is preferable to call or email to register, but it’s not needed,” Anderson said. “It is best to come to all five, but we encourage people to come for what they can.”
For more information or to register for Dementia Dialogues, call (435)753-0411 or email Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.