Free Movie and Popcorn

Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Show times: 2p.m. and 6:30p.m.

Willmar Sr. Citizens Center/Community Center (624 Highway 71 NE Willmar. Across from Robin’s Island)

This 2014 American documentary film followed country music singer, Glen Campbell on his farewell tour and centered on his struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

This event is FREE, but a freewill donation will be accepted for future memory loss events.

For questions about this event or the Network, please contact Lori Peterson at 320-226-2343

Forget-Me-Knot Memory Café Receives Donation

donation to Memory Cafe

The Forget-Me-Knot Memory Café received a very generous donation of four seasonal gift baskets created by Rice Hospice for their annual Rice Memorial Hospital Basket Event.  We are overwhelmed by the wonderful supply of items to be used to serve our memory café participants!  They also won the award for the best basket display – it was truly beautiful.  Thank you, Rice Hospice!

Cinco de Mayo Celebration

Playing a matching game at the Cinco de Mayo CelebrationWCDAN Chair Lori Petersen hosted a booth at the Cinco de Mayo Celebration on May 20, 2017, held at the Willmar Middle School.  She enjoyed the opportunity to create awareness about dementia, as well as watch the cultural presentations and meet attendees, including this visitor who played a matching game at the booth.

WCDAN Dementia Friends Champions

WCDAN Dementia Friend Champions

Nine WCDAN members become Dementia Friends Champions

Nine WCDAN members attended the Dementia Friends Champion Training sponsored by ACT on Alzheimer’s on Monday, April 10.  Attendees learned how to facilitate a Dementia Friends Information Session with community members.  WCDAN now has twelve members who are able to facilitate a Dementia Friends Information Session.

A Dementia Friends Information Session is a face-to-face session that lasts approximately one hour and is run by a Dementia Friends Champion.  It covers the five key messages everyone should know about dementia through activities and discussion.  Learn more.

Children’s Books Donated to Willmar Public Library

Children's Librarian Kathy Torkelson (left) receives a donation of 18 children's books from Kathy Thonvold (center) and Renita Thonvold (right), representing WCDAN and Memory Café.

Children’s Librarian Kathy Torkelson (left) receives a donation of 18 children’s books from Kathy Thonvold (center) and Renita Thonvold (right), representing WCDAN and Memory Café.

WCDAN presented a collection of 18 children’s books on the subject of dementia to Willmar Public Library today.  Memory Café meets twice monthly at the library and the librarians have been instrumental in helping Memory Café attendees find information on caregiving and dementia.  “We absolutely appreciate that space,” said facilitator Kathy Thonvold.  Facilitator Renita Thonvold said that the caregivers and persons with dementia who attend Memory Café often visit the library after their gathering.  “It’s a wonderful social environment for them that isn’t associated with medical visits.”

Children’s Librarian Kathy Torkelson received the donated books on behalf of the library.  She thanked Kathy and Renita, as well as the WCDAN organization.  “We greatly appreciate the books, and the great service you provide to the community,” she said.

Stop by the library to check out a book for your favorite child who might need help understanding a family member who is living with dementia.  There are books for a variety of children’s reading levels, ethnicities, and familial relationships such as grandma and grandpa.

One book, “Always My Grandpa,” written by Linda Scacco and illustrated by Nicole Wong, is subtitled “A Story for Children about Alzheimer’s Disease.”  It is for reading levels Kindergarten and up.

Another book, “Weeds in Nana’s Garden,” written and illustrated by Kathryn Harrison, is “a heartfelt story of love that helps explain Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias.”  It is for reading levels Kindergarten through 4th Grade.

Memory Café is funded in part by a Minnesota Board on Aging state grant.

Creating Moments of Joy with Jolene Brackey

“We’re going to focus on the positive today.”

Jolene BrackeyRight from the start, Author and National Speaker Jolene Brackey set the tone for a delightful, honest, and often poignant discussion on caregiving for people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.  We laughed a lot – mostly at ourselves, cried a little, and found much to recognize in what she shared about the experiences of life with dementia.  If that sounds incongruent – laughing about a serious disease – we might consider her suggestion to lighten up a little bit in those places where it makes sense to let go.

The name of her WCDAN Spring Event presentation on April 4, 2017, was “Creating Moments of Joy,” and she did not disappoint.  She approached the subject with dignity and respect for the person living with dementia, as well as compassion and understanding for the caregiver.

In our efforts as caregivers to be perfect, she reminded us that “there is no perfect answer, go with the better answer.” She urged us to allow the person with dementia to be themselves and be comfortable, even if it means wearing the same clothing every day.  It isn’t about you, it’s always about them.  “You can always buy twenty of the same sweater,” she said, if it makes you feel better.  She asked us to consider whether we needed to be right if it resulted in a tug of war, or if we wanted our loved one to be calm and content.

Jolene provided many tips for avoiding conflict, such as ways to help improve daily living issues, like iJolene Brackeyncontinence, and she asked us to work out the root cause of agitated behavior to find a solution to them other than medication.  Throughout both the morning and evening sessions she created an environment of sharing so we could learn from each other, too.

She reminded us that we’re wives, husbands, daughters, sons, first and foremost, and not to be afraid to ask for help with professional caregivers when it’s time.  Her words will stay with us for a long time and hopefully not just make our own lives better when we put her suggestions into practice, but enrich the lives of the people we care for, too.

If you missed the presentation, you can find information about Jolene and her books about caregiving at her website.

Critical Wandering – Part V

Today concludes our series that reviews the Critical Wandering Presentation that Marilee Dorn gave at the WCDAN monthly meeting on March 14, 2017.  All material from this series is taken from Marilee’s handout.  This post discusses recovery issues.

Marilee DornMarilee stressed that there is a significant increase in morbidity and mortality if the wandering person is not located within twelve hours.  Promptly notifying Law Enforcement and/or a professional Search and Rescue organization is important.  Be prepared to provide as much of the following information as possible:

  • Location where the individual was last seen
  • The likely direction of travel (obtained from security camera, witnesses or access to exterior doors)
  • Photograph and/or description of individual, along with clothing
  • If the individual had access to a vehicle or public transportation and was used to using transportation
  • Address of past home address and/or work place, or favorite destination

Early publicity efforts are likely to be important, urging anyone who has seen the individual to report.

Establish containment points.  Patrol area roadways, paths, sidewalks, rail lines, and other travel aids nearby.  Systematically and thoroughly search nearby areas, including dense brush.  Repeat searches of the home and surrounding area and roadways, making sure to look in possible hiding places.

Early use of trackers and tracking dogs, preserving any verifiable clues, and video surveillance from area businesses may be important.

Two final prevention notes – Law Enforcement and first responder agencies may participate in programs which have a tracking device for the individual who has been identified as at-risk for critical wandering.  Check with your local agency.  Participation in Medic Alert and the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return program may also be appropriate.

Critical Wandering – Part IV

Today’s post continues a review of the Critical Wandering Presentation that Marilee Dorn gave following the WCDAN monthly meeting on March 14, 2017.  All material from this series of posts is taken from Marilee’s handout.

Marilee DornMarilee discussed the characteristics that are common to most critical wanderings.  If an individual with dementia becomes lost during their wandering behavior, they are likely to keep going “until they get stuck.”  They typically travel in a straight line and follow the path of least resistance even if it leads downhill, into a drainage ditch, or across an open field, until they get caught up in thick briars, bushes, gully or steep ditch, encounter a stream or river, a dead-end alley, fence, etc.  They tend to stick to a defined path, however.

They often will not cry out for help, seek assistance, or respond to searchers’ shouts.  They may misinterpret sight or sound cues, and their fear or anxiety may increase as a result.  For example, a woman may mistake the concern of a passerby or a rescuer as being a threat.  A war veteran may hide from search aircraft.

The median distance traveled on foot is one-half mile.  Nearly one-quarter of those found are within 35 yards of a travel aid, such as a road or trail.  They may be trying to travel to a former residence or a favorite place.

The final post will be March 21, 2017, and discuss recovery issues.

Wandering Prevention – Part III

Marilee DornToday’s post continues a review of the Critical Wandering Presentation that Marilee Dorn gave following the WCDAN monthly meeting on March 14, 2017.  All material from this series of posts is taken from Marilee’s handout.

The third prevention component addresses Exit Control:  the appropriate reduction of unsupervised access to external areas.  Marilee provided examples of how most people with dementia will keep going in a straight line unless they are forced to turn because they’ve reached a dead end, fence, or other impediment.  We’ll talk more about this on the next post.

Here are ways to control exits:

  • Landscape the outside of each exit to block direct line of travel using fencing, enclosures, gates, planters or hedges.  This will require a deviation from a straight line to leave the property.  Use curves directing the person back inside.
  • Disguise exits by using curtains, screens, murals or other objects that divert the person’s attention away from exiting.
  • Disguise exits by painting or wallpapering the door the same color as the wall.  If an accent border is used on walls, continue it onto the door.
  • Disguise exits by placing doors along the side of the halls instead of at the end of the hall.
  • Avoid choosing doors with windows in them, or design it similar to other windows so the door is not as obvious.
  • Place dark mats in front of doors leading to the outside – person will see this as a hole, and may avoid crossing it and be redirected.
  • Install special door handles or child-resistant handle covers to prevent the individual from turning the knob.  Use a strip of cloth fastened with hook-and-loop tape across door handle so it’s not seen, or paint the handle the same color as the door.
  • Consider placing locks at the bottom of the door or in other positions out of direct sight line.  Use physical barriers (magnetically locked doors with prox. cards/coded keypads, or exit delay features) as is safe and appropriate to the environment.
  • Use electronic surveillance cameras on doors, including those with recording and time-stamp options.  Many brands will send an alert to smart phones when movement is detected.
  • Place alarms on external doors, but ensure that someone is available to respond to the alarm.
  • Consider installing extra steps to activate vehicles (fuel cut-off switch, consistently-used lockbox for keys).
  • Reduce the chances of exiting through windows by installing safety latches or locks.
  • Put a safety gate or bright netting across stairs or walkways which should not be accessed.

Marilee also reminds everyone to lock firearms and keep them separate from ammunition.

Our next post in this series will be on March 20, 2017.  It will discuss the characteristics of wanderings.  The final post will address recovery issues.

Wandering Prevention – Part II

Today’s post is a continuation of the Critical Wandering Presentation that Marilee Dorn gave following the WCDAN monthly meeting on March 14, 2017.  All material from this series of posts is taken from Marilee’s handout.  It is important to note that all wandering prevention tactics must be balanced with the need to ensure fire safety, along with access and ease of use for caregivers and emergency responders.

TMarilee Dornhe second prevention component is Environmental: modifying the environment to enable the person to move about in a safe, non-intrusive manner within the structure.

  • Help the person stay oriented to time by placing clocks and calendars in various spots.  Day-of-the-week clocks are available.  Provide a view of outdoors to keep person oriented to the season of the year and to daylight and dark.
  • Remove trigger items from view, such as hat, coat, keys, which could signal to the person that it is time to leave.
  • Place large signs on the bathroom door to reduce wandering in search of the toilet.  Use a picture of a toilet as opposed to words if the person struggles with language.  You can do this to label the doors of other rooms as well to help identify the function of the room inside.
  • Place night lights in the bathroom and by the bed.
  • Place a photo of the patient, or a collage of significant photos, on their bedroom door.  Use a photo of the person from 20 to 30 years ago as that may be how he or she views self.
  • Provide continuity with room assignment.  If room must be changed, choose one with a window with a similar outside view and use the same furnishings if possible.
  • Reduce environmental distractions and anxiety-raisers, such as loud volume on the TV and radio, or flickering lights.
  • Design a quiet and comfortable place (rocker or recliner) for the person to sit if they become agitated.
  • Design a walking path that allows safe wandering with interesting destinations and objects along the way.  Curved and circular walking paths are good.  Place toys, art, and interesting items near the doors as distractions.
  • In care facilities, assign staff responsibility to know the location of each person.  Ensure caregiver vigilance.
  • Regularly check that doors and gates are securely locked and that other security features operate correctly.

Our next post in this series will be on March 17, 2017.