SPRINGFIELD — On Sept 19, a nine-member panel of local experts from across the care spectrum offered information, support and resources to help families recognize and cope with the challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease at JGS Lifecare in Springfield. More than 45 people attended the event, held in the Gloth Family Auditorium of the Leavitt Family Jewish Home.
Dr. Stuart Anfang, medical director of the Memory Disorder Program at Baystate Medical Center, explained the differences between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and how to obtain an evaluation and care recommendations.
Attorney Lisa Beauvais emphasized the importance of having a loved one sign two important legal documents, the Health Care Proxy and the Power of Attorney. Darlene Francis, executive director of Ruth’s House Assisted Living and Madeline Presz, executive director of Spectrum Home Health & Hospice Care, shared the services of their respective organizations. “The key is to keep their mind stimulated, keep them active and engaged,” Francis said.
Barbara Perman, president and CEO of Moving Mentors, encouraged preparedness planning and forming a caregiving circle.
Jim Leyden, director of the Longmeadow Adult Center, spoke of senior centers as evolving and dynamic organizations, and Rachel Tierney, a retired nurse who cared for her husband, put a face on the care partner on the Alzheimer’s journey.