WMU News

New program serves people with dementia

June 19, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- A new program that will serve adults with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia who are living at home with caregivers will officially open Wednesday, June 20.

The Alliance for Community Supports, a non-profit organization founded by Western Michigan University's Center for Disability Services, MRC Industries, and Residential Opportunities Inc., will provide the service. An open house will take place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. with presentations at 5:15 p.m. Taking part in the opening ceremony will be Robert Jones, mayor of Kalamazoo; Gary Brown, mayor of Portage; Dave Buskirk, chairman of the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners; State Rep. Alexander Lipsey; WMU Provost Fred Dobney; and Janet Pisaneschi, dean of the WMU College of Health and Human Services. The public is invited.

"We provide care and supervision during the day, as well as occupational and physical therapy, so that the participants in our program can remain independent as long as possible," says Kathy Dziepak, program coordinator. Therapeutic activities are designed to help slow the loss of skills and cognitive abilities associated with Alzheimer's by providing opportunities for social interaction combined with movement, exercises and reminiscing.

In addition to therapeutic activities for those with dementia, the Senior Day Services Program offers respite for caregivers, who usually are family members, an elderly spouse, or an adult child, who may find it difficult to provide the necessary activities for their loved ones.

Health and medication monitoring are provided by a registered nurse and a physician specializing in the care of geriatric patients.

"We are able to pick up on changes in health status and report them to caregivers before serious problems develop," explains Anne Zemlick, RN, clinical coordinator.

WMU's Geriatric Assessment Center also plays a role in the Senior Day Services Program by providing clinical resources and comprehensive, family-centered, interdisciplinary assessments of clients.

The Senior Day Services Program is located at 751 Pleasant Ave. in Kalamazoo in a convenient, park-like setting. It is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information call: (616) 387-2146.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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