Alzheimer's and Dementia Care
Some senior centers in Maryland offer support programs for seniors with limitations, which would otherwise prevent their participation at a senior center.
Individuals in early or mild stages of dementia may benefit from these programs, which serve as an interim step between a senior center and a more protective setting such as adult medical day services.
The Senior Center Plus program, offered at 41 sites in Maryland, and the Center Connection Program, offered in Baltimore County, are examples of special programs in senior centers that may be appropriate for those in early stages of dementia. To find a senior center in your area that offers specialized services for less active or health-impaired seniors, contact your local Senior Information and Assistance Office.
Options for Persons Who Need Assistance
If a senior needs some assistance in a senior center that does not have a program for individuals with health impairments, or if the senior chooses not to participate in such a program, then the individual may have the option of bringing a companion or aide escort with them to the center. Each senior center has policies regarding companions, and procedures that the companion and member must follow.
If an individual becomes unable to participate in a senior center because of changes in his or her level of independence, then center staff may refer the individual to other agencies for appropriate services. Center staff may also suggest other settings for appropriate care such as an adult medical day services facility, assisted living facility, nursing home or a continuing care retirement community.
Awareness and Education Programs
Most senior centers offer lectures and seminars on a variety of health topics, including Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Health professionals from hospitals, doctors' offices and advocacy organizations visit senior centers to present information, answer questions and lead support groups. The lectures are almost always free of charge. Some of these lectures are designed for seniors, others for family caregivers.
General educational and awareness seminars may include information on:
- What Is Alzheimer's disease?
- Causes and risk factors
- Warning signs
- Getting a diagnosis
- Treatment options
- Day-to-day care
- Coping with the disease
- Planning ahead