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McKenzie Health System Launches Sanilac County Alzheimer’s Disease Support Group

McKenzie Health System (MHS) would like to announce the first class of the Sanilac County Alzheimer’s Disease Support Group, which will take place on Friday, July 7 at 1:30 p.m. in MHS’ back dining room and do not require pre-registration.

Monthly support group meetings, approved by the Greater Michigan Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, will be held at MHS and will be facilitated by Louise Blasius, LMSW, LPC, Director of Human Services at MHS and previous facilitator for the Alzheimer’s Association.

MHS recently received a grant from the Sanilac County Community Mental Health Authority to reestablish the Sanilac County Alzheimer’s Disease Support Group for seniors struggling with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In addition to the ongoing support group, funds will be used to host an Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia Caregiver’s Conference with presenters from the Greater Michigan Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

The Caregivers Conference will be held September 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sanilac Career Center. Conference topics will include the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, understanding behavior issues, the importance of communication, the driving dilemma, care for the caregiver and more. Grant funds will also allow Blasius to attend facilitator training offered by the Alzheimer’s Association.

“Caregivers can suffer from the effects of stress and burnout as they attend to the increasing needs of their loved ones, so we truly need to support both patients and the people who care for them,” said Blasius. “Seven out of 10 people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are cared for in their home or a home of a loved one. This new support group and conference can make a real difference in helping patients and caregivers enjoy the dignity and care they deserve. We are honored to receive this grant from the Sanilac County Community Mental Health Authority so that we can deliver more needed resources to the many caregivers in our community.”

In addition, MHS will update and reprint the “Thumb Area Dementia Directory & Resource Manual,” which provides information on understanding dementia, recognizing signs and symptoms, stages of progression, activities and promoting appropriate behavior. The booklets will be distributed to those in the support group as well as through the Senior Fair, senior meal sites, and physician offices throughout Sanilac County.

Finally, 12 free “Safe Return” bracelets will be provided to those in need; the bracelets are inscribed with the toll-free crisis number and let others know that the individual is memory-impaired and may need assistance. The Safe Return bracelets also include registration in a national database with emergency contact information and photographs to help reunite lost individuals with their caregivers.

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