Employees at Carthage Health and Rehabilitation Center marked the longest day of the year, Thursday, June 21, with a balloon release to raise awareness of people suffering from Alzheimer's Disease and the families who are caring for those people.

Employees at Carthage Health and Rehabilitation Center marked the longest day of the year, Thursday, June 21, with a balloon release to raise awareness of people suffering from Alzheimer's Disease and the families who are caring for those people.

Melissa James, with Carthage Health and Rehab, said the center hosts a monthly Alzheimer's/Dementia Support Group meeting from 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m., every third Wednesday of the month.

James said anyone who needs information about dealing with Alzheimer's or dementia, or has a family member who's dealing with the memory-robbing disease, is welcome to their meetings.

“The Alzheimer's Association is in on this, so they come in and train us and help us know how to help families with loved ones with Alzheimer's,” James said. “We have people from the community, some have their loved ones as residents here (at Carthage Health and Rehab), some don't, we're finding there's a need for this everywhere, so we're happy to be able to help with it.”

 

About The Longest Day

The Alzheimer's Association website, https://www.alz.org/, says The Longest Day is all about love for all those affected by Alzheimer's disease.

It was a day for activities and fundrasier to raise awareness for care and support of those with the disease and those caring for someone with the disease. It's also a day of fundraising for research into the disease.

James said Carthage Health and Rehab folks released balloons with messages containing numbers and links to websites with information about support for patients and caregivers.

“We're hoping these reach people that need the support,” James said. “We just want to reach people who really need it because there are a lot of people who don't understand that there are some great resources and support right here in Carthage.”

 

Memories lost

James said dementia and Alzheimer's robs a person of the things that make that person who they are — their memories — but there are ways to cope with it.

“Memories are important, that's all we have, our life is made of memories, so reminding our loved ones of the memories they made, even if they don't recall them we're able to remind them, and that's part of what our support that we have does,” James said. “Each month here we talk about this and teach families how to communicate, how to enjoy those memories with their loved ones still. Even if their loved ones don't remember, there are so many ways to cope and communicate with them and learn how to have quality time together.”

James said one way to help someone with Alzheimer's is to find out where in their life they are on that particular day. She said people with dementia and Alzheimer's live in a different time of their lives every day.

“So step one is us understanding where they are that day,” She said. “And you know that by the things they may be saying or how they may be relating to us. They may say their babies are home needing to be fed, or where is their husband, where is their mommy or daddy. Listening to them, if they're verbal, is a great way to define where they're at.

“Are they in their 20s, are they in their 40s, are they retired? From developing that, you can go on and visit about whatever it is that's happening in their life right then.?