St. Mary, Elmira, to host Aug. 6 session on Alzheimer's - Catholic Courier

St. Mary, Elmira, to host Aug. 6 session on Alzheimer’s

At what point should memory failure not simply be dismissed as a "senior moment?" A first-ever educational program on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease will strive to make that distinction.

The workshop is due to take place at Elmira’s St. Mary Southside Church on Wednesday, Aug. 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Open to the general public, it will serve to help participants tell the difference between normal lapses in memory and situations that may require medical attention. The session will be led by Todd R. Goddard, who serves as education coordinator for the Rochester Alzheimer Association’s Learning Institute.

Father Jeff Tunnicliff, parochial vicar at St. Mary, said the program was created at the suggestion of parishioners who are affected by Alzheimer’s. In fact, the parish bulletin recently carried a notice that one parishioner and her family were in need of prayers as well as assistance — in such areas as bathing, dressing, exercise, activities and personal care — due to Alzheimer’s and other health issues.

In a July 27 bulletin column promoting the inaugural event, Father Christopher Linsler, pastor of St. Mary Our Mother Parish in Horseheads, noted the following statistics provided by the Alzheimer’s Association:

* One in eight seniors over 65 have Alzheimer’s, and the rate goes up dramatically as age increases.

* Alzheimer’s is the fifth-leading cause of death in people age 65 or above.

* Approximately 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, and about 5 percent cope with onset of the disease prior to age 65.

* In Chemung County, nearly 1,600 people have Alzheimer’s and more than 70 percent are cared for at home.

Father Tunnicliff is serving as an organizer of the Aug. 6 gathering along with Deacon George Welch, chaplain at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Father Tunnicliff noted that this will be the first in a series of meetings, with up to 50 different talks available that can be tailored to specific needs based on participant feedback. He also emphasized that people do not need to attend the entire series and can start at any time.

Those interested in learning more about the Aug. 6 session and future gatherings at St. Mary can call the Learning Institute at 1-800-272-3900 or the St. Mary parish office at 607-734-6254.

Tags: Chemung County News
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