Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 23, 2018

Painting the town purple for Alzheimer’s awareness

Jun 19, 2018

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


Area resident Don Kline and several of his friends hope to paint Washington purple to remind people of the importance of early detection of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Maybe not literally, but there promises to be plenty of purple when Kline holds a presentation at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 23, in the Washington Public Library on the 10 signs for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. He hopes to share the facts with both people who know someone who is experiencing memory loss or behavioral changes. Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease gives patients a chance to begin drug therapy, enroll in clinical studies and plan for the future. The interactive workshop will feature video clips of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

“For people who have Alzheimer’s, there is a slow decline and no cure,” Kline said. “There is also another component and that is the caregivers that have to take care of these people as they decline.”

He described people who function in society slowly moving to being unable to function, saying it may begin with things like the patient being unable to work in a checkbook or knowing if they have an appointment. Eventually, he said, the patient was unable to remember what day it is and are unable to take care of themselves physically.

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it is the most common form of dementia and is not a normal part of aging. While there is no cure, there is treatment available for symptoms.

As a caregiver for an Alzheimer’s patient himself, Kline said the longest day of the year, which is Thursday, will be the day to recognize caregivers. He said that some purple decorations will be displayed in participating business windows. Businesses that will display purple include The Village, Wolf Floral, Don’s Jewelry, Brown’s Shoe Fit, and Dodici’s Shop. People wishing to help paint can contact Paige Knebel at (319) 294-9699.

Kline encourages caregivers to come to the presentation and get some information on providing care for Alzheimer’s patients. He said there are two caregiver support groups in Washington and he said there is a problem getting people to attend.

“Obviously if they are taking care of someone it is hard to get away,” he said. “But, they need someone to talk to. They need to know they are not the only ones doing this. You think you are the only one and you find out there are quite a few other people that have to do this. When we get together as a group, someone can ask a question and other members of the group already know the answer. Also, for the caregiver to get an hour or two away is important too.”

Kline knows from experience that it is hard to ask family or friends to help by watching the patient while the caregiver does something else. He said there are some groups around, such as Lending Hands or Comfort Care that can watch a patient.

On Sept. 15, a Walk to cure Alzheimer’s also will be held in Iowa City, Kline said. He also said more information could be gotten at Alzheimers.org.

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