Meet Jeannie and Dick Smith – Early Stage/Care Partner Program Participants

Jeannie and Dick Smith are Kettering residents and participants in the Miami Valley Chapter’s Early Stage programming. Dick was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the end of March, and Jeannie is his caregiver. Continue reading to learn more about Dick and Jeannie, as well as education and support programs through the Alzheimer’s Association. 

Tell us a little about yourselves.

Dick: I am from Minnesota and came to Dayton after college. I got my Aerospace engineering degree from Ohio State University. I worked with a lot of excellent people in the Wind Tunnel and computer operations at Wright-Patt AFB for 34 ½ years. I lost my first two wives to cancer.

Jeannie: I come from a large family in Highland county. I am blessed to have spent most of my life working with children. I love helping others, nature and continued learning. We have been married almost four years. We met on Match. I was looking for someone who loves me as much as I love them.

Jeannie and Dick

What do you like most about the Early Stage Dementia Programs?

Dick: The Early Stage support groups are special: socialization and comradery just for me. Sarah Cameron [Clinical Services Coordinator] educates us on how to deal with the disease. These programs have ideas, social outings and conversational feedback on what we are doing.

Jeannie: They are important for Dick. I appreciate being able for both of us to attend separate groups simultaneously. The many support groups for caregivers are great.

What is the one piece of advice you would like to give to those families that have recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia?

Dick: Learn as much as possible about everything. Hope helps…. but determination decides.

Jeannie: Get support from the Alzheimer’s Association immediately! 800.272.3900 is their 24/7 Helpline. Improve your diet, keep active, drink lots of water, don’t be afraid to ask for support. And always keep a positive attitude.

What do you like to do in your spare time.

Dick:   What spare time?  If I don’t keep busy I end up napping too much. I helped start the British Transportation Museum on Hopeland St. in Dayton and try to stay active with that non-profit. I also belong to the Ohio Mini Owners Inc. Club and the MG Car Club Southwestern Ohio Centre.  I read some and work on the computer. We attend many Alzheimer’s programs, sharing, learning and getting and receiving support from others.

Jeannie: Being retired from 37 years of driving a school bus, I really enjoy occasionally sleeping in. Family, especially grandchildren, are special. Quiet time is important. Concerts, programs and trips are fun. I enjoy eating out in Hillsboro, seeing old friends and students who have grown up and now have their own families. I do watch TV and work on the computer. My life is blessed.

For more information on education and support opportunities at the Miami Valley Chapter, please click HERE. Call 800.272.3900 or email mvprograms@alz.org with any questions.  

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