The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Alzheimer’s disease is the
most common form of dementia. It’s a degenerative condition that often begins with little
memory loss but may eventually lead to a complete loss of language and social skills.
Alzheimer’s disease damages regions of the brain that regulate thinking, remembering
and communicating. Everyday activities may become quite challenging for the affected
individual. This condition, which affects more than 5.4 million Americans and is on the
rise, according to the CDC, currently has no treatment options.
John Trombetta, the Tallahassee-based Alzheimer Project’s executive director, has
worked with the initiative for the last eight years.
“Our program gives comfort, support and help to persons with memory problems and
their caretakers across the Big Bend area,” Trombetta said. “Our social club is only one
example of the many group events we provide. Churches and other places of worship
often stock it. It gives caregivers a break and gives people with Alzheimers the
opportunity to engage in fun activities like arts and crafts, pet therapy, music therapy,
Chantel Pruett, who works as an Alzheimer’s Project family support counselor, helps
people and families talk to certified professionals about sensitive and private information
when they don’t feel comfortable talking to family members or in a group setting.
Pruett emphasized how important the programs tools and courses are for families who
have been affected by the disease.
“We have a program to help caregivers learn how to take care of themselves so they
can help their friends or family better,” Pruett said. “The program helps families reduce
stress, gain self-confidence, communicate feelings better, find a better balance in life,
become better at making hard decisions, and find useful resources.”
“Many families don’t realize this, and this program might benefit them a great deal
during this difficult time.” Pruett added.
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that an estimated one new instance of dementia is
diagnosed every 3.2 seconds, bringing the annual global total to nearly 10 million. In
2030, this figure will reach 78 million, and by 2050, it will reach 139 million, almost
doubling every 20 years.
Christopher Williams, who is in his fourth year as a computer engineer major at FAMU,
said, “The news that my grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease was a major shock to my
family. Because of our limited understanding of the sickness, she seemed like a
completely different person. My grandmother’s view on her health improved greatly as a
result of this program.”
Williams said that the Tallahassee chapter’s music therapy and local activities were
highlights for her. She was able to come out of her shell with the center’s support.
For more information about the Alzheimer’s Project, go to ForOurCaregivers.com.