Imagine finding yourself in a room you’ve never seen before. You are surrounded by strangers, and while they all seem to be involved in some sort of activity, you cannot make sense of it. You think to yourself that you should remember how you got here, and more importantly, how you will get home, but you cannot. As you think about it more, you are not even sure you know the day, or for that matter the year.
Needless to say, you are feeling more and more anxious. One of the strangers is talking to you, trying to hand you a ball, but you want nothing to do with that. You brush the ball away. You try to think of the last thing you remember, and a memory comes to you of your mom dropping you off at a pool.
You ask one of the strangers who seems to be in charge, if your mom is on her way to pick you up. She responds that your daughter will pick you up in a few hours. Daughter? What daughter?
The anxiety is increasing, and you are also starting to feel anger. You’re angry that you cannot remember your daughter’s name or even if you have more than one daughter. You wonder what is happening, and if it will ever end.
This is not the Twilight Zone. This is Alzheimer’s Disease.
Currently in the United States, there are over 5 million people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. While it affects everyone differently and progresses at different rates, there are common symptoms shared by many. The most common is memory loss. As a person goes through the different stages, the loss is more and more profound. It is difficult on the person suffering from the disease, but also on those who care for and love the person.
At Curative Care’s Senior Center, we specialize in helping seniors with memory loss. The individuals who attend our program are encouraged to get involved in activities that work to keep their bodies and brains strong. Our food program, which includes breakfast, lunch and a snack, is supervised by The State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction food program for adults and seniors. We start each morning with exercise tailored to each individual’s ability. Following breakfast, we have activities in the morning and afternoon which work to keep everyone’s brain active. These activities include music and pet therapy, word games, and other activities that allow people to reminisce.
A few special programs which we believe set us apart from many other senior day service programs include a partnership with Carroll University where twice a week students from the occupational therapy program take our clients bowling and to the YMCA. Our clients also may participate in The Memories in the Making® Program, an art program offered through the Alzheimer’s Association which stimulates communication through watercolors.
By offering a safe and warm environment for their loved ones during the day, caregivers are able to get a break, work and do errands without having to worry. We are also here just to listen, for we understand the frustrations that come with memory loss, and how it affects everyone who cares for the individual.
If you wish to explore the option of a safe placement of a loved one during the day, or you would like more information about our program, please call me at 414-479-9653.
Greg Pledl, Manager, Senior Services
Greg Pledl is a State Certified Social Worker, and received his Bachelors of Science degree from the school of Education at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. He has over 25 years in the social services field, and is currently Manager of Curative Care’s Senior Day Services, allowing him to get to know and interact with the most wonderful seniors every day.