Program Recap - April 16, 2014
Sarah Jane Melton, Executive Director of the Area Agency for Aging for seven Western North Carolina counties provided an educational session on dementia at the Rotary Club of Cashiers Valley, April 16.
Jane stated that she has been involved with numerous people diagnosed with varying degrees of dementia, including her own father, and she believes this is a very misunderstood disease.
"Dementia is the loss of brain function.People who have dementia cannot control it," she said. "When caregivers, usually family members, can understand that the brain is dying, they can better accept the challenge of caring for their loved one."
Jane provided examples of how important it is to focus on enjoying a visit with a person who has dementia rather than trying to get them to remember or understand something. "It's best to get into their world, because they can no longer come into ours," Jane said. "Doing otherwise may evoke frustration and aggression."
There are more than 70 different types of dementia. Risk factors are similar to heart disease, including high blood pressure, poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle and family history. The early signs may be when a person knows they are forgetting familiar words, keys or everyday things, retention of information, or the ability to plan and organize. While there is no cure, there are medication and treatments that can slow the progression of dementia.
About North Carolina Area Agencies on Aging (NC4A)
An Area Agency on Aging is a public or private non-profit agency designated by the state to administer the Older Americans Act at the regional level per the 1973 amendment to the Older Americans Act. Having regional oversight of the programs and funding allows the state to be more responsive and to be better able to assess local needs and concerns.
North Carolina has seventeen Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). Each is located within a multi-county Planning and Service Area served by a public, non-profit organization typically known as a Council of Governments or Planning Commission. All 100 counties in North Carolina are covered by an Area Agency on Aging. In a west-to-east lettering system from A through R, our region is designated as "J" and covers seven counties.
About Cashiers Rotary
The Rotary Club of Cashiers Valley meets Wednesday 7:30 am at the Cashiers United Methodist Church. For more information please call 743-5490 or go to www.cashiersrotary.org