Kim Parnell knows firsthand the importance of turning to resources of help and support for dementia. After her father, Jackie Crawford, was diagnosed with early-stage dementia in September of 2017, she knew she needed to get educated and learn as much as she could about the disease.
About Kim’s father, Jackie Crawford
Jackie Crawford is the owner and former manager of Jackie’s Market, a neighborhood store on South Broadway Street in Dayton. Jackie first opened the store in 1968 as a family and community-oriented store offering fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, and other grocery items. Jackie made it his mission to give back to his community through the success of the market; he was the founder of a neighborhood beautification program, and the founder of the Inner-West Business Association.
Now retired, he needed some help.
Kim Parnell transitions back to Dayton to care for her father
So, Kim moved back to Dayton from Houston, Texas to care for her dad. She was directed to a variety of helpful educational and support resources. Because her father is a veteran, the two visit the Dayton VA Medical Center for all of his appointments.
At the VA, Kim and her family were assigned a caseworker to assist with everything
from benefits to resources, and one of the first resources Kim was directed to was the
Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter.
Since then, Kim and her father have been very active with the Alzheimer’s Association. The two regularly participate in the Early Stage Programming at the Miami Valley Chapter, where they meet with an Early Stage Education and Support Group for those living with dementia and their care partners. The meetings involve a brief dementia education program followed by separate support groups for both those with dementia and their care partners.
Miami Valley Chapter care & support services
For Kim, receiving support and advice from others on the same journey with the disease has made all the difference.
“I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Getting education and support helped me tremendously, and the Alzheimer’s Association is a good place to start. The Miami Valley Chapter immediately welcomed me and my dad with open arms and open hearts. They are amazing at making diagnosed individuals feel as if they’d known them for years and they treat them with lots of respect,” she said.
“In the support groups, caregivers are able to talk in a non-judgmental, ‘whatever is said here, stays here’ environment. Getting that support from other caregivers and the Alzheimer’s Association has been a true blessing,” Kim said.
Becoming educated and preparing for the future is especially important to Kim, who knows she may have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease after learning the disease runs in her family.
Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women, and older African Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias as older whites.
“I feel empowered knowing that I may be affected by the disease later on. Now, I can
prepare,” she said. “Getting a diagnosis and being aware of the symptoms allows you to get the care you need when you need it and maintain as much respect as possible for as long as possible.”
Kim encourages others facing Alzheimer’s to ask for help and not to be afraid to talk about the disease. Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is a team effort, she says.
“I think everybody should volunteer to work with people living with Alzheimer’s at least once, to see what the disease encompasses. I’d invite people to get involved any way they can to join the fight against Alzheimer’s because you never know if you could be the next person to be affected by the disease,” she said.
“There’s help out there, and I got the help. Don’t go it alone. Ask for help, and the Alzheimer’s Association is the first place you should go to ask for help.”
24/7 Helpline 800.272.3900
If you or a loved one has recently received a dementia diagnosis, you’re not alone. Contact the Miami Valley Chapter at 800.272.3900 or visit http://www.alz.org/dayton to learn more about local care and support resources available to you and join the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.