GREENCASTLE -- A diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease can be devastating and frightening not only for the patient, but for his or her family as well.
To help bring awareness of the topic, The Waters of Greencastle and Mental Health America of Putnam County are partnering to offer the educational session "Alzheimer's Disease: Identification and Treatment." The session will take place Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Putnam County Museum, 1105 N. Jackson St., Greencastle.
"We're hopeful we are going to reach families of people who have Alzheimer's, or dementia of any kind," said Stephanie Blevins, Memory Care Unit program director at The Waters.
Blevins will speak at the session, along with Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray, a former hospital social worker; John Baughman, Ph.D.; and Carrie Kreckler, a registered pharmacist who holds a doctorate of pharmacy.
"People who are looking for facilities for their loved ones will find that most facilities are structured toward medical needs," Blevins said. "With dementia, it's more about stepping into their world."
The Memory Care Unit at the Waters is separated into two units -- one for higher-functioning patients who are still mostly independent and ambulatory, and one for patients who need more care.
"We had been talking about doing a program about Alzheimer's disease for a long time," said Eileen Johnson, MHAPC executive director. "We decided it would be good to get together with The Waters and pool our resources. It is an awfully important topic."
Issues to be discussed at Thursday's session include the different stages of dementia, dementia-related behaviors, care philosophies and the use of psychotropic medications.
Blevins hopes those who attend the session will come away with a sense of hope.
"Dementia patients can still have fun, they can still have quality of life," she said. "You just have to adapt to their routines."