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Alzheimer's presentation: Church community a vital support

LaPorte recently made a presentation to area clergy recently at Three Steeples Church in Champlain, sharing ways that congregations can help seniors with dementia/Alzheimers disease. Father Jim Delbel of St. Marys and Pastor Steve Loan of Three Steeples, both located in Champlain, Pastor Al Johnson of Mooers United Methodist Church, and Reverend Marlis Stoner were in attendance. LaPorte noted that family life is changed dramatically, with the ability to take part in recreational activities, do household chores and go to work adversely affected. Congregations are a natural support system, she said. The ADAC will train volunteers from different congregations about Alzheimers disease and related disorders. LaPorte hopes to link congregants with people within their communities who are dealing with Alzheimers. Volunteers can make a difference in the lives of individuals that have Alzheimers disease, and their family, she said. The donation of one hour a month can make such a difference. Some of the many things that volunteers can do to reduce caregivers stress are: offer to stay with the patient while the caregiver runs errands, go shopping with the family and visit with the person while their caregiver concentrates on what to buy, or cook a meal for the family. Pastor Johnson commented that LaPorte indicated that going to church can be a good experience for those with Alzheimers. Behaviors learned first are the last to go, he said. so, because our parents teach us to socialize, or how to act in public, at an early age, often going to church can be comforting, because the loved one with Alzheimers/dementia will act okay in church. Johnson also learned that early treatment is essential because the medication works much better in early stages, enhancing quality of life for a longer period of time. I think she has a good message, he said. By awareness and working together to help caregivers, all of Gods people can benefit. Programs and Services The ADAC, located at SUNY Plattsburgh, offers a variety of programs and services including neuropsychological assessment and diagnosis, mental status assessment, counseling, support groups, resource and lending library, education and training programs and The Third Age Adult Day Center. The ADAC offers many training programs. For those who are currently employed as in-home health care aides or would like to become one, the Respite Training Program provides specialized training. For more information contact Kenna LaPorte at (518) 564-3370 or (518) 564-3377.

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