Caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer's can be a struggle for many Central Oregonians. Home Instead Senior Care will be holding a free all-day workshop for people to learn tips and methods to help deal with the issue together.
More than 80,000 Oregonians suffer from various forms of Alzheimer's Disease.
"They're not acting like themselves. They might be doing something you would have never expected them to do," said Todd Sensenbach, the owner of Home Instead Senior Care. "It's because this person has brain failure., and it's starting to affect them."
Sensenbach cared for his grandfather who suffered from dementia. He would use a particular story from his grandfather's life to pull him out of a bad spot.
"The way he and my grandmother met was a story that he loved to tell," said Sensenbach. "So I would just say, 'Hey, grandpa can you tell me how you and grandma met?' And then all of a sudden he would be out of that sad spot or angry spot and light up."
Every person is affected differently by the disease, but officials say an educated and dedicated family is key. That's why Lori Sensenbach says they're holding a class to help people learn more.
"We see about 50 percent of the clients that we serve have Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia, and we see families that are struggling every single day to provide care for them," said Lori.
The tips and methods may not work 100 percent of the time, but the program teaches the "best friend's approach." Officials say the family member needs to understand where their loved one is, and go there with them. They should not try to drag them out of their reality.
"So if he's trying to get up in the middle of the night to go to work, you don't try and convince him that he doesn't have a job any more and go back to bed," said Sensenbach. "You try to convince him to simply that 'Yes, it's just not time to go to work yet.'"
Lori says there's nothing wrong with joining your loved one in their reality and enjoying your time together.
"It lessens the frustration that's just going to make their moments together that much better and enhanced," said Lori.
The free all-day work shop for Alzheimer's disease will be Friday August 17th at Partners in Care in Bend. To RSVP call 541-382-5882.
Lawmakers this week announced a new state plan to help those impacted by the disease. It's a collaborative effort between the private sector, government and nonprofit organizations.
The plan lays out five main goals: to enhance awareness, optimize care, protect people suffering from dementia, improve access to care, and understand, prevent and effectively treat the disease.
Seven town hall events will be held this month to inform the public about the plan. You can attend the meeting in Bend on Saturday, August 18th at 10:30 a.m. the Bend Senior Center.