Many families are helping loved ones struggle with dementia and other brain diseases. Through education and seminars, local health officials are aiding with the difficult matter.
The Sampson County Department of Aging is hosting a Dementia Sensitivity Training Workshop at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 14 at 405 County Complex Road, Clinton.
During the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to learn about the challenges experienced by people with dementia. Department officials believe interactive training session will help increase understanding, patience and empathy when caring for someone with the disorder.
“It’s a great resource for people from Sampson County to tap into,” said Lesia Henderson, family caregiver support specialist. “Throughout the year, there’s a continuation of workshops that we do to help the caregiver or help the general public understand what families go through, so they’ll be better caregivers.”
Henderson organizes similar workshops during the year and works with families who have loved ones suffering from dementia.
“We have a lot of wives taking care of their husbands with Alzheimer’s. We have a lot of husbands taking care of their spouse and a lot of children taking care of their parents,” Henderson said about working with a multitude of people. “It’s very diverse.”
Some of her goals is to provide education and resources. Henderson hopes that community members attend the workshop to have a better understanding. Usually, attendance ranges from 10 to 20 people, but a recent event in April at Roseboro First Baptist Church, drew about 80.
“When a caregiver understands what that loved one is going through, they can be a better caregiver,” Henderson said.
Dementia is a chronic or persistent disorder of mental issues caused by brain disease or injury. Problems include memory disorders, personality changes and impaired reasoning.
Under the umbrella of dementia, Alzheimer’s is the most common type. The progressive degenerative disorder attacks the brain’s functions resulting in memory loss, language skill and behavior.
“We have many families in our county that are suffering with Alzheimer’s,” Henderson said.
Although the exact number is unclear, Henderson works with about 20 families who have to deal with the disease.
“I know there’s more people in the county with Alzheimer’s because you hear about it all the time,” she said. “It’s just a continuation and that number is going to get larger and larger. The baby boomers are aging out. More and more people are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s even at an earlier age.”
According to the World Health Organization, 47.5 million people have dementia and there are 7.7 million new cases every year. That amount is projected to be 75.6 million in 2030 and almost triple by 2050 to 135.5 million.
“It’s information that people in our county need to know,” Henderson said.
There is no charge to attend the workshop conducted by Eastpointe Geriatric / Adult Mental Health Specialty Team. Dementia training officials will be available to assist participants. Refreshments will be provided during the event. For more information, contact Henderson at 910-592-4653 or by email at [email protected]
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.