Florida Gulf Coast Chapter

Polk Update 

November 2012

In This Issue
Support Groups
Walk to End Alzheimer's
How Far We Have Come
Care for the Caregiver: Heart and Brain Connection
Current Medical Treatments
Caregiver Jewels: Use Written Reminders


All programs are free to attend unless otherwise specified.

CaregiverEducationNovember 2 (Sebring), 9 (Lakeland) and 16 (Winter Haven) Caregiver Education, topics include: About the brain, Alzheimer's disease and related dementia; Learning to adapt to and understanding behavior through better communication; Advance planning, community resource and reducing caregiver stress. Varies presenters and times. Click above link for event flyer.




November 7 Outreach: FREE Memory Screenings at Fontaine Gills YMCA, 2125 Sleepy Hill Road
Lakeland, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. For appointment call 863-292-9210 or email thompsons@alzflgulf.org


November 9 Caregiver Education at Clark & Daughtrey, 2625 South Florida Avenue, Lakeland.

9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Speakers:Stefanie Thompson, B.A., State of Florida Certified ADRD Trainer, Senior Program Specialist, Alzheimer's Association-FGCC; and Ginny Wolfe, M.A., Community Relations Coordinator, Cornerstone Hospice.


November 12 Caregiver Education: Dementia Friendly Holidays, Highland Park Church of the Nazarene, 4730 Lakeland Highlands Rd, Lakeland. (the fireside room: backside of the main office, west campus). 6:00-8:00 p.m. Call or email for more details (863) 292-9210 or thompsons@alzflgulf.org.


November 14 Educational Presentation:

Fact or Fiction: Senior Protection in partnership with Home Instead Senior Care of Lakeland and Seniors vs Crime. Learn how to Protect Seniors from Fraud, Learn about and receive a FREE Senior Fraud Protection Kit; Learn about current scams that are happening in your area; Learn how to evaluate health care claims, information and organizations; Learn to recognize potential signs of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.  at Palm Terrace, 1919 Lakeland Hills Blvd. Lakeland, 10:00  a.m. Refreshments provided please RSVP to (863) 937-1500.


November 15 Outreach, Free Memory Screenings, City of Lakeland Employee Health Fair at Lake Mirror Center, Lakeland. 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Call 863-292-9210 or email thompsons@alzflgulf.org for an appointment.


November 16 Caregiver Education at Cornerstone Hospice, 2590 Havendale Blvd., Winter Haven, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Speakers: Iftikhar Rasul, M.D., geriatric psychiatrist, and Jeffrey Reddout, Ph.D., clinical neuropsychologist, Memory Clinic at the Center for Behavior Health at Winter Haven Hospital; Chris Wilcox, Program Specialist, AAFGCC, and Ginny Wolfe, M.A., Community Relations Coordinator, Cornerstone Hospice.


December 3, Outreach: FREE Memory Screenings for City of Lakeland Employees, Risk Management Conference Room, 520 N. Lake Parker Ave., Lakeland, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. By appointment only, please call 863-292-9210 or email thompsons@alzflgulf.org.


In January 2013

Date to be announced. Professional Caregiver Educational Workshop at the Estates at Carpenters, 1001 Carpenters Way, Lakeland, Fl.  10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. includes continuing education credit units at no cost. Lunch provided. Limited seating; please register at (863) 292-9210 or thompsons@alzflgulf.org. This program is in partnership with the National Association of Social Workers Florida Chapter.  

Date to be announced. Memories in the Making™ an expressive art program for people with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia (ADRD) Facilitator Certification Training. Cost is $25 per person.

Support Groups

Alzheimer's Association-Florida Gulf Coast Chapter affiliated support groups are for family members, caregivers, and others interested in learning more about Alzheimer's disease. Meetings are open to everyone and free of charge. Support group facilitators have received training as required by Chapter and National Alzheimer's Association standards. For program information and to verify meeting dates, times, and locations, please use the telephone contacts listed below. For other questions or for respite care information so you can attend a group, call our Polk County Office at (863)292-9210 or 1-800-272-3900.


Message Boards: The Alzheimer's Association message boards and chat rooms are your online communication forum. Our message boards have over 9,000 registered members from around the United States, and many more people who simply browse the stories and information that is offered 24 hours a day. Join the Alzheimer's Association online community. (alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_message_boards_lwa.asp) 

Early Stage and Care Partner Groups



Beyond BASE at The Estates at Carpenters
1001 Carpenters Way, Lakeland, (863) 858-3847

1st Friday @ 1:30 p.m.
Early Stage Transition: Brady Beatty

Facilitators: Stefanie Thompson, Cynthia Basalone, and Lori Garrard. Register call (863) 292-9210


Winter Haven / Lake Wales

Beyond BASE at Lake Ashton

4th Friday @ 4:00 p.m.
Early Stage Transition: Brady Beatty

Facilitator: Chris Wilcox

Register call (863) 292-9210


Caregiver Meet-Up / Social (Carte Blanche)



1st Tuesday @ 8:00 a.m.

Call or email Stefanie Thompson for location.

(863) 292-9210 / thompsons@alzflgulf.org


Caregiver Support Groups



Good Shepherd Hospice

105 Arneson Avenue, Auburndale (863) 297-1880

3rd Friday, 10:00 a.m. Facilitator: Cindy Clouse


Davenport / Haines City Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center Cafeteria Conference Room

40100 US Hwy 27 North, Haines City
1st Thursday at 10:00 a.m.

Facilitator: Clare Roubos, (863) 422-5571

Lake Wales
Water's Edge of Lake Wales
10 Grove Avenue West, Lake Wales,

(863) 206-0470
3rd Thurs @ 10:30 a.m.
Facilitator: Suzanne Lull (863) 206-0470

Lake Wales Public Library
290 Cypress Gardens Lane, Lake Wales
4th Monday @ 1:00 p.m.
Facilitator: Suzanne Lull, (863) 206-0470

Florida Presbyterian Homes
6 Lake Hunter Dr., Lakeland, (863) 688-5521

1st Thursday, 10:30 a.m.

Facilitator: Teresa Montoya 

Hawthorne Inn -Lakeland* (lunch provided)
6150 Lakeland Highlands Road, (863) 644-6414
1st Thursday @ 1:00 p.m. Facilitator: Eddie Broom

Savannah Cottage* (Lunch Provided)
605 Carpenter's Way, Lakeland, (863) 815-9411
1st Friday @ 12:00 p.m.

Facilitator: Mary Jo Williams


Valencia Hills Health & Rehab (Lunch Provided)
1350 Sleepy Hill Rd, Lakeland
One Wednesday a month @ 12:00 p.m., and

One Saturday a month @ 1:00 p.m.

Please call support group facilitator, Rich Quinn at

(863) 858-4402 x352 for scheduled dates.

Emeritus at Lakeland
2111 Lakeland Hills Blvd., Lakeland (863) 688-1126
2nd Wed. @ 2:00 p.m., Facilitator: Pam Flanders

Southland Suites

4250 Lakeland Highlands Rd.,

Lakeland (863) 701-7820

4th Thursday @ 6:30 p.m.

Facilitators: Carol White and Donna Schoenenberger



Life Church at FishHawk
6420 Lithia Pinecrest Road, Lithia

1st Monday @ 7:00 p.m.

Facilitator: Eddie Broom (813) 681-6503


Plant City
First Baptist Church
503 North Palmer Street, Plant City

2nd Tues. @ 2:00 p.m., Facilitators: Bill Barr and

Stefanie Thompson (863) 292-9210


Baltic Room
385 Village Drive at Solivita, Poinciana

4th Thursday @ 10:00 a.m.

Facilitator: Nancy Callahan, (863) 496-1136


Stone Ledge Manor

12006 McIntosh Road, Thonotosassa

(813) 571-4117 

3rd Monday at 6:00 p.m.

Co-facilitators: Stormie Thayer and

Cierra Henderson


Winter Haven
Arts Ensemble Healing Arts Centre/

AAFGCC Polk Office
1000 American Superior Blvd., Winter Haven,

(863) 292-9210
2nd Monday @ 3:00 p.m.

Facilitator: Virgina Culbert

Early Stage TLC Art Program: Arts Ensemble Staff

Brookdale Senior Living- Sterling House
6110 Cypress Gardens Blvd. (863) 318-8055

3rd Monday @ 4:00 p.m.

Facilitator: Chris Wilcox, (863) 292-9210

Hawthorne Inn of Winter Haven (Lunch Provided)
625 Overlook Drive, Winter Haven
3rd Wed. @ 11:30 a.m., Chris Wilcox,

(863) 324-2212


* Indicates Free Respite is provided by the support group host during the support group meeting. Please call in advance for reservations.

Quick Links


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Walk to End Alzheimer's


The 2012 Walk Season is upon us and registration is open! Click on the link below to be directed to the Polk County Walk which is located at the First Presbyterian Church, 175 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, FL.



Polk County Walk

November 3, 2012 


Contact Katie Hood for more information.

How Far We have Come
The Alzheimer's Project (HBO)


In this video by HBO, leading researchers explain how far the field has come since Dr. Alois Alzheimer discovered the disease more than a century ago.


To learn more about Alzheimer's or see additional videos go to: http://www.hbo.com/alzheimers.
Care for the Caregiver
Stefanie Thompson, Sr. Prog. Specialist, AAFGCC


Caregivers may find that with so many responsibilities self care is placed as a lesser priority than care of a loved one.  Yet, staying physically and emotionally strong is key to healthier caregiving. To this end, this column is dedicated to health promotion and personal care for the caregiver.


Heart and Brain Connection
National Alzheimer's Association
Remember that what is good for your heart is good for your head. Some of the strongest evidence about maintaining your brain links brain health to heart health. Even though you can't feel your brain working, it's one of the most active organs in your body. Your heart pumps about 20 percent of your blood to your brain, where billions of cells use about 20 percent of the blood's oxygen and fuel.

If your heart isn't pumping well - or if your brain's blood vessels are damaged - your brain cells have trouble getting all the food and oxygen they need. Any condition that damages your heart or blood vessels can affect your brain's blood supply.

How you can take brain health to heart:

  • Adopt a long-term, heart-healthy "food lifestyle" rather than a short-term diet and eat in moderation. A long-term study of 1,500 adults found that those who were obese in middle age were twice as likely to develop dementia in later life. Those who also had high cholesterol and high blood pressure had six times the risk of dementia.
  • Reduce your intake of fat and cholesterol.Studies have shown that high intake of saturated fat and cholesterol clogs the arteries and is associated with higher risk for Alzheimer's disease. Use mono- and polyunsaturated fats, such as olive oil, for example. Try baking or grilling food instead of frying.
  • Exercise. Walking or other moderate exercise for 30 minutes each day gets the body moving and the heart pumping.
  • Don't smoke.Smoking interferes with blood flow and oxygen to the brain and is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
  • Manage your numbers. Controlling your body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar helps reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
For more information visit Be Heart Smart.
Current Medical Treatments
In the brain, neurons connect and communicate at synapses, where tiny bursts of chemicals called neurotransmitters carry information from one cell to another. Alzheimer's disrupts this process, and eventually destroys synapses and kills neurons, damaging the brain's communication network.

Current FDA-approved Alzheimer's drugs support this communication process through two different mechanisms:

  1. Cholinesterase inhibitors work by slowing down the disease activity that breaks down a key neurotransmitter. Donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine and tacrine are cholinesterase inhibitors.
  2. Memantine,the fifth Alzheimer's drug, is an NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor antagonist, which works by regulating the activity of glutamate, a chemical messenger involved in learning and memory. Memantine protects brain cells against excess glutamate, a chemical messenger released in large amounts by cells damaged by Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders. Attachment of glutamate to cell surface "docking sites" called NMDA receptors permits calcium to flow freely into the cell. Over time, this leads to chronic overexposure to calcium, which can speed up cell damage. Memantine prevents this destructive chain of events by partially blocking the NMDA receptors.

On average, the five approved Alzheimer's drugs are effective for about six to 12 months for about half of the individuals who take them.


More information.

Caregiver Jewels
Emily Reese, Prog. Specialist, AAFGCC


Welcome to Caregiver Jewels, a column featuring caregiving tips by family and professional caregivers throughout our 17 county service area.  These "golden nuggets" represent caregiving strategies and tricks of the trade. 


For the column to be a success we need your input!

It may be a "golden nugget" you say to get your loved one to attend a program or an activity to redirect their attention. Whether your tip is a diamond, emerald or ruby - all are valuable! So, please share the wealth!


Send your tip to reesee@alzflgulf.org or contact your local office.


November Tip

Use Written Reminders


A family caregiver in Collier County created a sign to help promote safety.  The sign specifically focused on fall prevention.




Materials needed: a sign (click here for an example) and a bell.


Written reminders can be a useful strategy for a person in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Remember consistency is important.  Take the sign and bell wherever you go, i.e., hospital, visiting relatives, vacations, etc. Using written reminders and visual cues can be used in other areas of functioning too. For example, a picture of socks and the word socks taped to the sock drawer; a sign reminding the person with dementia that you have gone out and will be back at 2:00 p.m.  No strategy is full proof. What works one day may not work the next, so always be aware of how the person with dementia is responding.


Falls are a serious risk for all seniors but particularly for those with dementia. Click here for fall prevention tips for caregivers to be aware of for themselves and their loved one.


Note: The information in this column is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional, or medical advice or diagnosis or treatment.

If you have questions, concerns or just wish to talk to someone please feel free to contact us.  Our 24-hour HELPLINE number is 1-800-272-3900.


Stefanie Thompson and Chris Wilcox
Program Specialists
Alzheimer's Association Florida Gulf Coast Chapter
Polk Office- located in the
Arts Ensemble International Building
1000 American Superior Blvd.
Winter Haven, FL 33880
Telephone: 863.292.9210   Facsimile: 863.292.9603
Email: thompsons@alzflgulf.org / wilcoxc@alzflgulf.org

Thank you!

Alzheimer's Association - Florida Gulf Coast Chapter
Chapter Headquarters, 14010 Roosevelt Blvd., Suite 709, Clearwater, FL 33762 Telephone: 727.578.2558

National Headquarters-Alzheimer's Association National Office, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601

Alzheimer's Association is a not-for-profit  501(c)(3) organization 2010 Alzheimer's Association. All rights reserved. 

24/7 Helpline: 1.800.272.3900