A safe place to land

Monthly gathering will offer respite for caregivers of those with memory issues

When the DeRidder branch of the Beauregard Parish Library hosts it’s first monthly memory care meeting at 10 a.m. Friday library staff members have high hopes that the event will create a comfortable space for dialogue with caregivers who are assisting loved ones or others with memory issues.

Celise Reech-Harper, associate director, said, “Everyone, especially caregivers, needs support and a soft place to land. We want to be that comfortable landing space.”

Reech-Harper said the memory care meeting will be the “first event of that kind here at the library and it will be a monthly gathering.”

She said the catalyst that brought about an interest in the library hosting such a meeting is that several of the library’s staff members have been caregivers and have had people in their own families who have experienced memory issues.

“Memory care was also a topic that was discussed when some of us attended the American Library Association’s annual conference in New Orleans,” Reech-Harper said. “We kept the conversation going and came up with the idea to launch a monthly memory care meeting.”

She said caregivers are encouraged to attend with or without individuals they are assisting.

“During the meeting, classic movies or television will play in the background while we enjoy fond recollections of music, movies, toys, community, and more,” Reech-Harper said. “Reminiscing is a wonderful thing for anyone but can be especially touching and useful for those with memory issues.”

Why is memory care so important? Although memory issues can affect anyone, serious issues with memory go beyond simple things that all of us have probably done such as misplacing one’s cell phone or keys.

Reech-Harper said Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and that one in three seniors will experience some form of dementia.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 5.7 million people in American who are living with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease and the most common form of dementia. Dementia is not a specific disease but an overall term that describes a group of symptoms.

With early detection, experts say those with Alzheimer’s or dementia can explore treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help them maintain a level of dependence longer, as well as increasing their chances of participating in clinical drug trials that help advance research in those areas.

For more information on the memory care meeting or future events at the library, email Reech-Harper at:programming@beau.org.

To get additional information on Alzheimer’s disease, visit alz.org.

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One in three seniors will experience some form of dementia.

Special to the American Press

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