Florida Gulf Coast Chapter

Collier Update 

December 2012

In This Issue
Support Groups
Reducing Holiday Stress
Care for the Caregiver: Diabetes
Spotlighting Alzheimer's
Holiday Tips
Caregiver Jewels: Use Written Reminders
Access to Rehab


All programs are free to attend unless otherwise specified.

December 3, Holiday time: Travel Tips and Visiting Family. Consider how to travel more safely with your loved one with memory problems, or alternatively- what to do if you have family/ friends coming to visit. Learn how to set expectations and boundaries for your visitors.  Barrington Terrace 5175 Tamiami Trail East, Naples, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Open to the Public/Please RSVP to Eve (239) 775-5050.


December 10, Death: Loss, Grief, and recovery. Review the many approaches to processing and healing after loosing a loved one (with an emphasis on dementia related care giving).  Barrington Terrace, 5175 Tamiami Trail East, Naples, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Open to the Public/Please RSVP to Eve (239) 775-5050.


January 17, Healthfair. Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church, 1225 Piper Boulevard, Naples, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Open to the Public, for information call Joyce Geary at (239) 597-5410.


January 17, The Basic's of Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias. Understand the differences between Alzheimer's and related dementias. Learn the common causes of memory loss, including Alzheimer's disease; the stages of Alzheimer's, the importance of a good medical examination and what we know about prevention and treatment.  Hope PACE Center, 13020 Livingston Road, Naples, 6 p.m.- 7:30 p.m. Open to the Public/Please RSVP to Melissa (239) 218-2470.


January 18, The Basic's of Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias. Understand the differences between Alzheimer's and related dementias. Learn the common causes of memory loss, including Alzheimer's disease; the stages of Alzheimer's, the importance of a good medical examination and what we know about prevention and treatment. South Regional Library, Naples, 8065 Lely Cultural Parkway, 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. Open to the Public/Please RSVP Catherine (239) 405-7008.


January 24, Healthfair. Physicians Regional Hospital South, 8300 Collier Boulevard, Naples, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Open to the Public, for information call Suzanne at (239) 313-6409.


January 31, Understanding Communication and Behavioral Issues Related to Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias.  Addresses the challenges faced by people living with Alzheimer's disease or dementia and family caregivers, and tips and techniques to make communication and behaviors the least frustrating as possible for everyone. South Regional Library, Naples, 8065 Lely Cultural Parkway, 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. Open to the Public/Please RSVP Catherine (239) 405-7008.

 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 Collier / Lee County Office at 239-405-7008 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.



Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church

1225 Piper Boulevard, (239) 405-7008

Last Wednesday of the month at 10:00 a.m.

Facilitator: Catherine Cruikshank

December's meeting will be held on the 19th.


North Naples United Methodist Church   

6000 Goodlette Road, (239) 405-7008
Last Wednesday of the month at 1:30 p.m.

Facilitator: Catherine Cruikshank

December's meeting will be held on the 19th.


Marco Island*

Saint Mark's Episcopal Church

1101 North Collier Boulevard, (239) 394-8097

Last Monday of the month at 10:30 a.m.

Facilitator; Shirley Woolaway

This meeting has break out sessions for both the caregiver and the person with memory loss.


Bonita Springs*

Millenium House of Southwest Florida

8951 Bonita Beach Road, Suite 297, (239) 405-7008

First Wednesday of the month at 5:00 p.m.

Facilitator: Catherine Cruikshank

January's meeting will be held on the 9th.


*Indicates Free Respite is provided by the support group host during the support group meeting. Please call in advance for reservations to Cindi (239) 992-5513.


Reducing Holiday Stress
The holidays are a time when family and friends often come together. For families living with Alzheimer's and other dementias, the holidays can be challenging. With some planning and adjusted expectations, celebrations can still be happy, memorable occasions.


It is not uncommon for a loved one with a dementia to become overstimulated, agitated, or confused. 
Holiday festivities often create changes in the environment and daily routine. It is important to keep your regular routine. Trying to maintain a pleasant, meaningful and calm holiday while caring for your loved one can lead to feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and frustration.

Hints for coping with the holidays:
  1. Keep your regular routine. It is important for you and your family member with dementia.
  2. Try to maintain a positive attitude. Keep in mind that the holidays are also a time for memories and reflection as well as a time for joy.
  3. Give yourself permission to say no to obligation or invitation.
  4. Give yourself permission to ask for and say yes to offers of assistance from family, friends, and neighbors.
  5. Encourage friends and family to visit, but keep the number of visitors at a time to a minimum.
  6. Prepare activities or tasks to divert your loved one's attention to prevent them from becoming overstimulated or agitated.
  7. Accept invitations and enjoy the chance to be with friends and family, even if your loved one cannot attend. 
  8. Talk of past good times - special memories.
  9. Plan a smaller gathering.
  10. Celebrate earlier in the day.
  11. Reduce post-holiday stress. Arrange for respite care so you can enjoy a movie or lunch with a friend

The holidays can be stressful. Stress can be minimized with adjusted perspectives and expectations.  Read more about the holidays and dementia. 

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.

Diabetes, Are You At Risk?
National Institute of Health


If you have wondered or possibly been told that you are at risk for developing diabetes or that you have prediabetes, you should know that diabetes prevention is proven, possible, and powerful. Studies show that people at high risk for diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by losing 5 to 7 percent of their weight, if they are overweight-that's 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person. Two keys to success:

  • Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week.
  • Eat a variety of foods that are low in fat and reduce the number of calories you eat per day.


In other words, you don't have to knock yourself out to prevent diabetes. The key is: small steps that lead to big rewards. Learn more about your risk for developing type 2 diabetes and the small steps you can take to delay or prevent the disease and live a long, healthy life: Diabetes Is Preventable.

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Spotlighting Alzheimer's
Former Miss Universe Alicia Machando as Celebrity Contestant on Univision's Dance Competition

Today, more than 5 million Americans are living with
Alzheimer's disease and while whites make up the great majority of the individuals with the disease, available research suggests that Hispanics are one and one-half times more likely than whites to develop Alzheimer's and other dementias.

"The Alzheimer's Association is committed to increasing awareness about Alzheimer's and other dementias among all Americans," said Gloria Smith, Alzheimer's Association Florida Gulf Coast Chapter Executive Director/President. "But given the disproportionate impact of Alzheimer's on the Hispanic community, we believe it especially important to elevate concern in this community and we applaud Alicia Machado in her effort to shine a light on the disease."

The Alzheimer's Association was chosen as the charity of choice by former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, who competed in this season of Univision's reality show/dance competition ¡Mira Quién Baila! 3 (Look Who's Dancing). 


The former Miss Universe and telenovela star joined nine other celebrities and 10 professional dancers as they competed on one of Univision's highest rated reality-competition shows, "¡Mira Quién Baila!" The program which aired Sunday evenings at 8pm ET/PT and 7pm CT chronicled the celebrity contestants' journey from workouts to rehearsals to dance performances. Winners were determined through a strict elimination process. Alicia Machado made it to the finals placing third.  


The need for education, information and supportive services for families living with Alzheimer's and other dementias in diverse communities is paramount. The Association has an expansive portfolio of tools, information and culturally and linguistically appropriate resources in Spanish and English for families affected by Alzheimer's and other dementias at every stage of the disease.

Holiday Tips
Catherine Cruikshank, Director of Education AAFGCC
During the holidays there are a few tips that can make your event more enjoyable. First, remember that events are subject to change.


Traveling by plane:
  • Can you travel with a third person?
  • Have your loved one wear something that will stand out in a crowd. Dress them in a red or yellow jacket (red is the first color that the human eye sees, you would scan the crowd for the color, not the person).
  • Inform the airline or crew upon check in of the memory issue.
  • Always get cancellation insurance.
Staying with people:
  • Any change of environment can affect your loved one.
  • Even if you have been to this place (children's house) before.
  • Educate you family on what they can expect.
  • Little children can be fun and cute or very disrupting to the person with dementia.
  • Have a "quite room" ready.
  • Your plans may be fun and traditional, but they may not be appropriate for your loved one anymore. Be ready to cancel or have a designated sitter.
Having Company:
  • All of the above still applies.
  • Even though it is a familiar place (the house they live in), having visitors can disrupt the normal flow-routine of the house.
  • Make sure your visitors know your routine and comply as much as possible.
Facility visiting:
  • It is not always a good ideal to have several family members visit at once.
  • Remember that at the holidays other families will be doing the same, and this can be very upsetting to some residents.
  • It is the quality of the visit NOT the quantity.
  • Small boxes of chocolates (Please give consent that if a family member take in a large box of candy, the staff may share it with all of the residents).
Taking your loved one home:
  • You may want to take your loved one home for the day -they may not want to go- do not force them. Be prepared to visit in the facility instead. Forcing the issue will only ruin every bodies day.
  • Have staff prepare a "day bag" in advance so that there is no fussing about when you go to pick up your loved one (fresh change of clothes, depends,medications etc).
  • Have "quiet room" at your house.
  • Your loved one may either show agitation or say that "they want to go home". Take them back to the facility at that time, do no delay it. The agitation will most likely get worse and ruin everybody's day.
  • This is what the "designated sitter" is for (no alcohol for this designated person).
  • This person immediately yet quietly gets the car keys and takes the person back to the facility in which they reside.

"The exact minute you sit down to eat is the

same mintue your loved one will get aggitated."


NOTE: Tell visitors and family in advance not to all get up and say good-bye; this amount of fuss will only add to the stress and agitation of the person with dementia. Acknowledge the departure calmly, have people simply wave and say "I love you", and "Happy (Name of Holiday)".

Also, please do not over load your loved one with holiday sweets and desserts. Monitor this at home and in the facility. This will cause upset stomachs, cramps and diarrhea. Lastly, remember that it is quality not quantity.

Caregiver Jewels
Emily Reese,Program 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.


December Tip

Redirection: the Simple Way


Redirection is a tool or technique used to solve a behavioral problem. Redirecting an individual may delay or prevent outbursts and inappropriate behaviors. Gentle distractions with food, drink or activity can be effective.


A family caregiver from Collier County submitted the following nugget:  


My sweet husband loves M&Ms. It's amazing that he doesn't know where he sleeps; he doesn't know where the bathroom is, and doesn't even really know what to do with the toilet or the bed. But he hasn't forgotten where we keep the M&Ms. If he's getting agitated or wanting to wander, we can put some M&Ms in a bowl and show it to him, and he'll almost always get distracted and focus on his treat. 


The above illustrates how small and simple a solution can be. It reminds to not overlook the obvious and to keep redirection person centered.   


Remember redirection should be offered in a reassuring tone. Never focus your redirection on reprimand or by saying "no" or "don't do that".  The most important thing to remember is that each person is unique. Activities and conversations that successfully redirect one person may not work with someone else.


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

Access to Rehab Services
National Alzheimer's Association

As one of the plaintiffs in the federal class action lawsuit Jimmo v. Sebelius, which challenged the Medicare Improvement Standard, the Alzheimer's Association applauds the recently announced proposed settlement. Under the settlement agreement, Medicare will pay for rehabilitative services, such as physical, speech and occupational therapy, if they maintain an individual's current condition or prevent or slow further deterioration and require the skills of a professional.
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.


Catherine Cruikshank, Director of Education
Emily Reese, Program Specialist

Collier - Lee Office

Alzheimer's Association, FGCC
9220 Bonita Beach Road, Suite 223
Bonita Springs, Florida, 34135
Telephone: (239) 405-7008
Facsimile: (239) 405-7038

Website: www.alz.org/flgulfcoast

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