Memory loss is not a one-size-fits-all phenomenon. That is why Naples Senior Center at JFCS is launching a new Early Memory Loss Group, the first of its kind in the Greater Naples area for those who have early signs of dementia and mild cognitive impairment. The group will meet once a week for four hours starting in December at the senior center.
“Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease affect so many in our community, and it is vital that everyone receives the level of memory care they need,” said Dr. Jaclynn Faffer, Naples Senior Center at JFCS President/CEO. “The Early Memory Loss Group will serve as an important component of the broader spectrum of dementia support we provide.”
Seniors who take part will learn new skills and techniques to cope with their memory loss. They will also perform mental and physical exercises and meditation, and they will have an opportunity to socialize, said Anne Chernin, Director of Client Services for Naples Senior Center at JFCS.
The goals are that group members feel less socially isolated, feel supported, get connected to community resources, become better informed about dementia and Alzheimer’s, and become better equipped to plan for the future.
One of the group objectives is to encourage members to seek and receive the medical care they need, a stumbling block for many faced with early memory loss.
“When they start to experience symptoms, people either go straight to the doctor or they avoid it like the plague,” Chernin said. “We want to help people communicate better about what they are experiencing so they receive proper attention.”
The group, to be directed by Licensed Clinical Social Worker Darlene Holan, will also enhance the language skills of participants so that they are better able to communicate. It will initially be limited to 14 members, and Holan will meet with each of them before they join to determine if it is the best fit for their needs.
Participants have less profound memory loss than those taking part in the senior center’s Dementia Respite Support Program but somewhat more serious issues than those involved in Dakim Brain Fitness at the center, Chernin said.
The group is funded through a grant from the Brookdale Foundation Group, a national charitable initiative designed to enhance the quality of life of America’s elderly. The structure of the program is based primarily on Brookdale Foundation research but also on other early memory loss programs elsewhere in the country.
Seniors may call Chernin at 239-325-4444 for more information about the Early Memory Loss program.