Alzheimer’s Help for Caregivers

More from this show

We tell you about the EPIC Early-stage Partners In Care program that helps people with early-stage memory loss and their care partners by providing free early-stage related education and training workshops designed to reduce stress, enhance well-being, and help manage challenges. Workshops include how to manage your concerns, stress and distress, how to prepare for changes because of the memory loss and how to stay engaged and plan for the future.

TED SIMONS: MORE PEOPLE ARE BEING DIAGNOSED WITH DEMENTIA IN IT'S EARLY STAGES THANKS TO RESEARCH ADVANCEMENTS. PRODUCER ALLYSA ADAMS AND PHOTOGRAPHER ROB MCJANNET TAKE A LOOK AT A UNIQUE PROGRAM DESIGNED TO HELP PEOPLE WITH EARLY STAGE MEMORY LOSS "AND" THEIR CAREGIVERS.

LINDA AND RICHARD HAVE THE EASY BANTER.

WE BOTH FELL. WE WERE DANCING.

OF TWO PEOPLE WITH A LOT OF SHARED MEMORIES. EVERY NOW AND THEN --

WHAT'S THE NAME OF THE RESTAURANT YOU AND PAUL GO TO MOST OFTEN?

THERE'S A HICCUP.

OKAY, WHAT ARE THE NUMBERS?

RICHARD HAS EARLY STAGE DEMENTIA WHICH MEANS SOME THINGS, SOME MEMORIES, HIDE ON HIM.

WHEN I FIRST HEAR IT I'M GOING, OKAY. NORMALLY IT WOULD STICK. I WOULD REFER TO IT AS THINKING OF IT. NOW I CAN'T. OTHER THINGS ARE HAPPENING AND I'M GOING, WHAT IS THAT? THIS GAME OF HIDE-AND-SEEK HIS BRAIN IS PLAYING HAS CHANGED THE DYNAMIC OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP.

HE WAS AN INDEPENDENT MAN. I NEVER WORRIED ABOUT LEAVING HEM. I NEVER WORRIED WOULD HE BE OKAY? COULD HE TAKE CARE OF THE HOUSE OR CATS OR WHATEVER IN AS TIME HAS GONE BY, THAT'S CHANGED. LINDA KNEW EARLY ON THEY COULDN'T FACE THIS ALONE. THEY REACHED OUT TO THE ALZHEIMER'S GROUP AND FOUND EPIC. KATY RUNS THE DESERT CHAPTER OF THE ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION. SHE SAYS IT'S UNIQUE IN THAT IT GETS TO THE TOUGH QUESTIONS WHILE THE PERSON WITH DEMENTIA STILL MAKES DECISIONS.

IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY TO EXPRESS AND LET THEIR VOICE BE HEARD WITH WHAT THEY PREFER. WHAT ARE THEIR PREFERENCES FOR FUTURE CARE PLANNING?

THROUGH THE SEVEN WEEK COURSE, CARE GIVERS HAVE TO LOOK HARD AT THEIR LIVES, INCLUDING A REALISTIC ASSESSMENT AT WHO DOES WHAT, THEY THINKS LIKE COOKING, ASSIGNMENTS. IT CAME OUT THAT I SHOULD DO EVERYTHING. BOTH OF US SAID THAT. HE SAID THAT, BUT BOTH OF US SAID THAT. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE. YOU CAN'T DO EVERYTHING. BECAUSE OF THAT, WE BEGAN TO CHANGE THINGS AND GET HELP IN A VARIETY OF WAYS. THE EPIC PROGRAM HELPS PARTNERS NAVIGATE THE HIDE-AND-SEEK GAME.

MY BRAINS ARE IN THERE.

SOMETIMES IT'S A CONCRETE TASK.

ONE THING THAT'S HELPED ME A LOT IS I PUT DOWN WHAT'S AHEAD OF TIME, WRITING IT IN THERE SO WE CAN LOOK AT IT.

OTHER COPING MECHANISMS SOUND EASY.

WE ALWAYS SAY KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE.

UNDOING YEAR OF TAKING MEMORY FOR GRANTED.

DO YOU REMEMBER TAKING YOUR LAST PILL?

I'M A VERBAL PERSON. WE HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH THIS FIVE YEARS. I KNOW PERFECTLY WELL, I HAVE TO TAKE THE TACK THAT HE REMEMBERS NOTHING I SAY VERBALLY. I'LL SAY REMEMBER TO TAKE YOUR PILL. HE WILL SAY I WILL REMEMBER. I'LL SAY, YOU WON'T REMEMBER. HE SAYS I'LL REMEMBER AND OF COURSE, HE DOESN'T.

REDUCING STRESS, WE INTRODUCE NEW CONCEPTS. WE MIGHT INTRODUCE MINDFUL BREATHS, MUSIC, AND HOW IT'S A GOOD ESCAPE AND RELEASES TENSION. AND IT GETS PEOPLE LOSING PIECES OF THEIR PAST TO MAKE DECISIONS WHILE THEY STILL CAN. RICHARD INDICATED HE WOULD LEAK TO BE IN PLACES WHERE THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT HAVE THE SAME DISEASE AND PEOPLE TO TALK TO.

LINDA AND RICHARD DON'T KNOW HOW MANY HOLES THE DISEASE HAS, BUT THEY ARE WILLING TO LET THE PAST HIDE AND LOOK FORWARD TO AN UNKNOWN FUTURE.

I WOULD SAY I HAVE HOPE. HOPE FOR THINGS I LOOK FORWARD TO. I'M CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT LOOKING FORWARD TO.

SPECIFICALLY, LIVING A LONG LIFE WITH THIS LADY WHO IS PROFOUND.

THE EPIC PROGRAM IS OFFERED 6-TIMES A YEAR THROUGHOUT THE STATE. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT THE DESERT SOUTHWEST CHAPTER OF THE ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION. AND THIS PROGRAMMING NOTE: ARIZONA PBS WILL BROADCAST AN HOUR-LONG SPECIAL, "ALZHEIMER'S: EVERY MINUTE COUNTS," IT AIRS TONIGHT AT 9:00 HERE ON ARIZONA PBS. >>THURSDAY ON ARIZONA HORIZON, FORMER NATO AMBASSADOR KURT VOLKER DISCUSSES PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FOREIGN AFFAIRS IDEAS. AND WE'LL HEAR FROM A NEW ORGANIZATION AIMED AT SUPPORTING GOOD JOBS IN OUR STATE. THAT'S AT 5:30 AND TEN ON THE NEXT ARIZONA HORIZON. THAT'S IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANKS FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING

Illustration of columns of a capitol building with text reading: Arizona PBS AZ Votes 2024

Arizona PBS presents candidate debates

Celebrate Juneteenth with Arizona PBS

Super Why characters

Join a Super Why Reading Camp to play, learn and grow

Koryn Woodward Wasson, artist
aired June 6

‘Flirting with the Desert’ art exhibit opens at Scottsdale Public Art

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch
with azpbs.org!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: