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Letter: Alzheimers support, guidance available

In November 1994, Ronald Reagan penned a letter to the American people revealing that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. At that time, I wonder if our society realized that more than 20 years later, the disease would be so much more ...

 In November 1994, Ronald Reagan penned a letter to the American people revealing that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. At that time, I wonder if our society realized that more than 20 years later, the disease would be so much more prevalent than what it was back then. Since November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, I find it appropriate to share some information, as well as provide some resources that can help.  Alzheimer’s is a debilitating brain disorder that robs people of their cognitive abilities. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 5 million Americans are living with this disease. Every 67 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s. There is no known cause, no known way to prevent it, nor is there yet a cure. We know that as the disease progresses, the level of care required increases. Knowing the diagnosis creates an opportunity for people suffering from this disease to participate in decisions about their care.  By way of expanded support, there is help to ease the burden on persons with Alzheimer’s, their family members and caregivers. I encourage anyone that would like to know more about this disease to contact the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 helpline at 1-800-272-3900 or log onto their website at www.alz.org . Trained professionals are ready to answer any questions you may have.  Locally, Living at Home (732-3137 for more information) offers a number of services to help area seniors, one being a caregiver’s support group. This group is led by a trained group facilitator and meets monthly.  Additionally, The Cottages, part of the Heritage Community campus right here in Park Rapids, is an enhanced memory care building with a residential like atmosphere for anyone with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, dementia, or any type of memory loss. Built in 2009, The Cottages offers a secure environment, 24 hour supervised care, meals, activities, and health management for residents, along with private studio apartments. I welcome your calls and would be happy to talk to you and provide a tour of what we can offer you and your loved one. My phone number is 237-8345.  In the spirit of National Alzheimer’s Awareness month, please share this information with anyone who you feel may benefit. It seems as if we all know someone in the throes of this terrible disease. There is much support and guidance for someone living with memory loss, as well as for family members and caregivers. We care and are here to help.

Cleo Hartung, Director of Housing and Community Services Heritage Community

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