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New classes for Alzheimer's caregivers starting Monday at FV Senior Center


Last updated 10/13/2021 at 10:31am | View PDF

The Central Colorado chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is hosting a caregiver support group at Fountain Valley Senior Center (5745 Southmoor Drive in Fountain), starting this month. RoseMary Jaramillo, who directs the Central Colorado chapter, started talking with the senior center’s program director, Mark Bowers, about the group in August.

“I had actually been visiting Fountain Valley Senior Center over the years prior to working with the Alzheimer’s Association, and Mark Bowers and I kind of run in the same circles,” she explained. “He reached out to me and said, ‘You know, this is really what we need, can you help us?’ and we said, “Yes, absolutely.”

Like all of the Alzheimer’s Association’s classes, this group is tailored to its recipients.

“One of the things that we want to do, and that we focus on, is really supporting the community and their needs,” Jaramillo said. “Somebody reaches out to us and says, ‘We have a need,’ and we say, ‘How can we support that?’”

The Alzheimer’s Association has a library of free classes for different needs and time constraints, all emphasizing how to better understand and help people with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

“We have a research-based curriculum; we use that throughout the country,” Jaramillo said. “We usually start with our first class [on] the 10 warning signs, then understanding dementia and Alzheimer’s, and then really go into communication.”

These classes range from 45-minute “lunch and learn” events, to 90-minute classes about the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s, to series of classes building on each other. Jaramillo’s group recently held a series for veteran caregivers that lasted five weeks. The Fountain Valley Senior Center support group will focus on helping unpaid caregivers (both those caring for someone in their own homes and those caring for someone in a facility) know more about Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“The importance of education is really helping them understand the disease and really understand how to work and communicate with someone that has the disease,” Jaramillo said. “When we have a greater understanding, it really does help build our empathy and compassion.”

The caregiver support group will meet for the first time next Monday (Oct. 18), 2-3:30 p.m., with a class on the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s. It is hoped that the series will go on for five or six monthly classes, with additional classes in 2022 if the Fountain Valley community wants more. The Alzheimer’s Association is seeking volunteers who can help lead classes, and possibly provide classes in their own communities later. Volunteers must be at least 21 years old, have some knowledge of Alzheimer’s and dementia, be able to deliver the curriculum and commit to teaching classes for two hours a month. To find out more, contact RoseMary Jaramillo at [email protected] or call 719-372-5977.


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