ATHENS–Athens Rotary Club hosted representatives of Alzheimer’s Coalition of Henderson County May 23, who spoke about a day club for seniors with dementia that launched earlier this year.
Aubry Gregory and Jamie Fizer of the Alzheimer’s Coalition were joined by Genesis HospiceCare Marketing Manager BJ Davies.While Alzheimer’s accounts for many cases of dementia, Gregory said, other dementia classifications apply to people with Parkinson’s disease. About three million people are annually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Coalition launched a day club for seniors with dementia March 6, held every first and third Wednesday of the month, called Wonderful Wednesdays. The program is held at First Presbyterian Church’s Fellowship Hall, located at 405 E. Corsicana St. in Athens.
Gregory said the Henderson County coalition got the idea from their Smith County counterparts and “we set a date and it hit the ground running.”
Gregory said the program is free but accepts donations and is geared toward dementia patients around the county who have their needs provided primarily by a loved one. The day club allows those primary caregivers a respite in a safe, engaging environment, Gregory said, and provides meals through “amazing sponsors,” of which the coalition needs more to stay successful, she said.
Davies, who acts as activities director for Wonderful Wednesdays, said the four-hour-long day club allows for “meet and greet and art expression” and that planned projects “keep them focused and keep them moving,” such as making Mardi Gras masks at the first March session.
Fizer, who has served five years on the Alzheimer’s Coalition board of directors, said those attending must be independent in that those working Wonderful Wednesdays cannot take attendees to the restroom or dispense medication. Fizer also urged loved ones to attend the first session, too.
“If we can help just a little bit, it would make a big difference in our county,” Fizer said.
Gregory also described an upcoming countywide program in conjunction with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office to provide tracking bracelets for those experiencing dementia. For more information about Wonderful Wednesdays, contact Gregory at (903) 651-1502.