Effort focuses on mental health of aging population in WashburnA clergy group in Washburn wants to start a community chat to figure out the best way to deal with people who have memory loss.
By: By Guy Tymorek, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A clergy group in Washburn wants to start a community chat to figure out the best way to deal with people who have memory loss. The issue is hitting home for many people.
Charles Schoenfeld of Wausau recently published a book, “A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Dementia Ward - Memoir of a Mail Certified Nursing Assistant.” Schoenfeld says, since baby boomers are getting into their senior citizen years, communities have to figure out the best way to deal with Alzheimer’s or other dementia.
“It’s an epidemic across our country with regards to Alzheimer’s and related dementias, and it's something we all need to be aware of,” he said.
Now, the small communities along Chequamegon Bay are banding together to start a conversation about this. Pastor Teena Racheli of Washburn says it is best to involve not just medical professionals and social workers, but also clergy and families affected by memory loss.
Racheli says there is no avoiding the impacts of an aging population.
“Something that kept coming up for us both personally and professionally were the number of persons that were really facing issues of memory care, memory loss, Alzheimer’s, persons living with dementia,” Racheli said.
Retired mental health professional Dianne Heapy of Washburn will take part. She says it is important for people to be educated about memory care.
“Often time’s people don’t discuss it, or don’t have much knowledge about it or experience with it, until it enters their life because a family member is being diagnosed or a friend or a neighbor,” she said.
They held a town meeting of sorts Sunday at Stage North in Washburn to share their experiences and find out how the resources are already available.