Judy Buck is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, diagnosed about a year and a half ago.
“I can’t imagine what it’s like,” the 68-year-old Henrietta woman said of the time when she won’t know everything that’s going on around her.
But she is not waiting.
Judy and her husband, Dick Buck, 69, enrolled in a class at the JCC of Greater Rochester, New York for people with Alzheimer’s and the spouse or family member caring for them. She struggled in the first session to follow some of the footwork. She practiced at home, and the second time stayed in sync with the group.
“I was able to learn something new,” Judy Buck said.
As researchers keep working on long-term treatments in the quest for a cure, attention is being paid to non-medical approaches to managing the disease and improving life for patients and the people closest to them.
The JCC, which several years ago piloted an exercise program in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association, developed that idea into Music, Mindfulness and Motion. The six-week class meets for an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and combines aerobics with strength, balance and visual training. The program, led by certified personal trainers Carm Heidt and Kathy Mulvehill, is open to the public and funded with a $10,000 grant from the Konar Family Foundation.
Early diagnosis means that people are functioning longer with the disease, increasing the need for activities to promote general health.
“In the past, they didn’t call us till it was late-stage and they were looking for a nursing home,” said Paula Casselman, director of programs and services for Alzheimer’s Association Rochester & Finger Lakes Chapter. “The earlier they are diagnosed, the quicker they can receive treatment that helps in social engagement and physical activity. It’s not a cure for the disease, but it improves quality of life.”
Read more about day care centers for those with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s care counselors at Safe at Home Healthcare are available to talk with you about your in-home care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care, including live-in care. We are an elder care agency providing Home Care in Aurora.