SPRINGFIELD, OH. – Wanda Atkins and her staff at United Senior Services see a number of older Clark County residents who live at home, have Dementia and need help.
“There’s a lot of need. A lot of people want to stay in their homes,” said Atkins, who is director of in-home services at USS. Their caseload numbers support that. They have 206 homemaker clients, 68 personal care clients, 4 respite care cases and about 100 individuals on the waiting list. Atkins said those are the largest numbers they have seen in some time.
Nationwide, one in three seniors die from Alzheimer’s and Dementia. In the Miami Valley region, census data shows that Clark County has one of the highest percentages of residents 65 and older. Clark County’s 65 and older population is 19 percent of the total population. In the state of Ohio, the percent of the population over 65 is 16.7 percent.
Maureen Fagans, Executive Director and CEO of United Senior Services, said, they definitely have seen an overall increase in residents with Dementia needing in-home services. These residents are living in their homes much longer. “The people we serve are people who don’t have other options,” Fagans said. “They don’t have savings or long-term care coverage.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 80 percent of people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias receive care in their homes. The Alzheimer’s Association, Miami Valley Chapter, which is the premier organization and advocate for families dealing with Alzheimer’s, works closely with agencies like United Senior Services to provide the Alzheimer’s and Dementia support needed.
Jane Eckels, works out of the Center twice a month. “The Alzheimer’s Association is thrilled to be able to partner with United Senior Services,” said Eckels, who is an Alzheimer’s Association Care & Support Coordinator. “With our partnership, both of our organizations are stronger in delivering services to the residents in Clark County.”
A registered nurse, Atkins has made home visits herself. She said many times, “you can tell the family needs help.” Caregivers, STNAs or homemakers also sometimes sound the alarm. The comments are often along the lines of: “‘Her stove was on when I went in today’” or “‘I found her in the backyard.’”
Sometimes the in-home staff makes referrals to adult protection services, depending on how involved the person’s family is, Atkins said.
The services of the Alzheimer’s Association are open to all Clark County citizens regardless of age. The chapter offers education programs during various times throughout the year, such as Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Communication, Behaviors and Healthy Living for your Brain and Body.
The Alzheimer’s Association also offers two Dementia caregiver support groups in Clark County, one at the Masonic Home in the Pathways Center and one at Goodwill Easter Seals Adult Day program site. These groups are held each month and no reservation is needed.
At United Senior Services, Clark County families can discuss Alzheimer’s/memory loss issues with a social worker from the Alzheimer’s Association. To schedule a meeting, call 937.610.7010 or 1.800.272.3900 for an appointment. These no cost meetings can be set up to develop a plan and get connected with local resources.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our 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. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Approximately 5.7 million in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Almost 220,000 Ohioans are living with dementia. In the Miami Valley, about 30,000 people have dementia and approximately 90,000 people serve as their caregivers. The mission of the Alzheimer’s Association is carried out in Ohio by seven local chapters coordinating care and support, awareness, fundraising and advocacy initiatives. For more information on the Alzheimer’s Association, call 1.800.272.3900, or visit alz.org.