Dementia in the News

Dementia has become a part of almost every person’s life. The person diagnosed with dementia might be a grandparent, parent, sibling, spouse, or friend. Or, it might be you. Most of us know a family dealing with dementia if we’re not living with it ourselves. In recognition of this reality, the Gloucester Times, Salem News, and other papers owned by North of Boston Media Group (a division of CNHI, LLC) ran a comprehensive series of articles concerning dementia in August and early September. Topics in the series included:

  1. What is Alzheimer’s and dementia
  2. How to tell the difference between normal aging memory loss and dementia memory loss
  3. Personal stories of individuals and families living with Alzheimer’s and dementia
  4. What the state and federal government are doing now and plans for the future
  5. Research on Alzheimer’s, dementias, and treatments
  6. How the ongoing worker shortage is impacting services
  7. The anticipated need for additional primary care physicians, neurologists, home health aides and personal care aides to support the future increases in dementia patients
  8. The need for specialized training and education for paid and family caregivers
  9. Early onset Alzheimer’s
  10. The financial and emotional costs of dementia to families and caregivers
  11. Lifestyle choices that can raise the risk of dementia

Dementia has been in the news quite a bit lately. Locally, the 10th annual Blue Fin Blowout fishing tournament in Gloucester was held in July. Proceeds from this popular event support the Alzheimer’s Association. At the national level, we have heard about how Tony Bennett, Bruce Willis, and Robin Williams and their families have been impacted by dementia. Documentaries Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me (2014), Robin’s Wish (2020), and SPARK: Robin Williams and His Battle with Lewy Body Dementia (2023) have provided a much-needed increase in understanding of dementia. With understanding may come a lessening of stigmas surrounding dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Association defines dementia as “a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life.” While Alzheimer’s Disease is the most commonly experienced type of dementia, there are several different types, including Vascular, Lewy body, Frontotemporal, and more. It’s important to understand that dementia is not a part of normal aging.

As the state-appointed Area Agency on Aging and Aging Services Access Point serving the nine communities of Beverly, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Rockport, Topsfield, and Wenham, SeniorCare works with the Alzheimer’s Association and provides specialized services to individuals living with dementia and their families. Our staff includes a specially trained team providing services to assist in the care required by dementia and related disorders. Our Habilitation Therapy specialists go into homes to provide tools, education, and support to caregivers. Our Caregiver Support Specialist provides one on one assistance to caregivers as well as in-person and online support groups. Our Money Management Team provides household bookkeeping assistance and Social Security Representative Payee support. Our Meals on Wheels team provides a healthy lunch and a quick visit and safety check. Our Caring Connections team offers phone visits to help alleviate loneliness. SeniorCare’s Age & Dementia Friendly program supports initiatives throughout the North Shore to raise understanding of the needs of people with dementia and to encourage municipalities to consider these needs when determining policy.

SeniorCare also offers Consumer Directed Care. For those individuals eligible for a state-funded home care program, Consumer Directed Care provides the option for the individual to hire a family member or friend to provide their in-home care. The consumer becomes the employer, is allowed to choose their home care worker (or workers), set their schedule, and assign tasks. A “Fiscal Intermediary” agency, contracted and paid by SeniorCare, takes care of accounting tasks that are required of a legal employer.

For more information about how SeniorCare can support you or your family, please call 978-281-1750 and ask to speak with an Information & Referral Specialist.

Resources to learn more about dementia: