ST. GEORGE – The Alzheimer’s Association is reopening its office in St. George.
Elizabeth Brown, a local respite care counselor with a background in art therapy, will coordinate Alzheimer’s Association services. The office was originally closed in March because of budget restrictions, as previously reported by St. George News.
“The community gave us feedback – they said please, don’t close the (St. George) office,” said Nick Zullo, program director for the Alzheimer’s Association Utah chapter. He said the Alzheimer’s Association office in Salt Lake City has been receiving several phone calls each week from St. George families caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Even without an office in St. George, the Alzheimer’s Association has continued to provide personalized services, including care consultation, counseling, support groups, MedicAlert+Safe Return enrollments, community referrals to families helping a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease and support to patients of referring physicians in Southern Utah. The Alzheimer’s Association also provides respite care services for caregivers, which is partially funded by United Way Dixie. There is no cost for any of these services.
The Alzheimer’s Association will also facilitate three support groups in St. George, one support group in Hurricane, and one support group in Cedar City.
Brown will coordinate art therapy and gardening for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia at the St. George Senior Center. She will also facilitate Cognasium, the Alzheimer’s Association’s cognitive rehabilitation program.
The association plans to slowly expand the St. George office. It expects to hire a full-time community relations coordinator for the St. George office in September.
The Alzheimer’s Association holds town hall meetings in St. George for people concerned with or touched by Alzheimer’s disease. Zullo said about 60 people attended the last meeting.
“There was lots of feedback, and when feedback is honest you find out that people are hurt, but people that were hurt were heard,” Zullo said.
The Alzheimer’s Association will hold a public open house on Thursday, May 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Staff will be on hand to answer questions regarding local services for people touched by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
People in Southern Utah who have been affected by Alzheimer’s can also call the Alzheimer’s Association’s helpline at 800-272-3900. This free helpline is open 24/7 and provides information and guidance in 170 languages and dialects.
As part of the Association’s commitment to awareness and support, the Walk To End Alzheimer’s will take place Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, 9 a.m. at Dixie High School. For more information and to register your team, please go to www.alz.org/walk.
The Alzheimer’s Association is a leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Its mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. For more information, visit www.alz.org/utah.