Florida Gulf Coast Chapter


Polk Update 

February 2013

In This Issue
Support Groups
Early Stage Program
NIA Announces Funding of New AD Research Studies
Behavior: a Form of Communication
Care for the Caregiver: Seasonal Flu
Caregiver Jewels: Communication Tip
Tips When Memory Changes
Planning Ahead
All programs are free to attend unless otherwise specified.


*February 9 Educational Presentation: Fact or Fiction: Senior Protection presented in partnership with Home Instead at Highland Park Church, 4730 Lakeland Highlands Rd, Lakeland, FL, (FMB Conference Room 707), 9:30 a.m. For more information contact Dave Smith at (863) 647-3518.


February 16 Fundraising Event: Fashion Show Supporting the Walk to End Alzheimer's, Hamptons, Auburndale.  For more information contact Katie Hood.


*February 21 Evening Caregiver Education: Better Understand Alzheimer's disease & Related Dementias, Highland Park Church of the Nazarene, 4777 Lakeland Highlands Rd, Lakeland. (The Chapel, West Campus). 6:00-7:30 p.m. Call or email for more details: (863) 292-9210 / thompsons@alzflgulf.org
Other training dates for this site include: March 21- Topic: Learn care strategies specific to your situation. April 18- Topic: Learn about available resources in the community.

*February 21 & 28, Caregiver Education
Communications with Alzheimer's at Alzheimer's Association, 1000 American Superior Blvd, Winter Haven, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Contact (863) 292-9210 for RSVP. 


February 23, Outreach: Information and resources at the Annual Open House at the Kelly Recreational 
Complex, 404 Imperial Blvd., Lakeland, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.  For more information call (863) 834-3284  




March 5, Caregiver EducationAlzheimer's Disease: What Family Caregivers Need to Know presented by  USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute at Southland Suites and Clare Bridge Place, 4250 Lakeland Highlands Rd., Lakeland.  10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. and includes lunch.  There is no cost, but preregistration is required to (813) 974-4357 or (800) 633-4563.


*March 7  Caregiver Education: Basic's of Alzheimer's at Alzheimer's Association, 1000 American Superior Blvd, Winter Haven 1:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Contact (863) 292-9210 for RSVP.
March 14  Caregiver Education: Communications With Alzheimer's at Alzheimer's Association, 1000 American Superior Blvd, Winter Haven 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Contact (863) 292-9210 for RSVP.
*March 15 Caregiver Education: Communications With Alzheimer's at Alzheimer's Association, at Good Shepherd Hospice 105 Arneson Ave, Auburndale, Fl 33823 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Contact (863) 292-9210 for RSVP.
*March 21  Caregiver Education: Challenging Behaviors of Alzheimer's at Alzheimer's Association, 1000 American Superior Blvd, Winter Haven 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Contact (863) 292-9210 for RSVP.


*March 28  Caregiver Education: Understanding Respite at Solivita, 395 Village Dr, Poinciana, Fl 34759 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Contact (863) 292-9210 for RSVP.


*March 29- Caregivers Day Out at Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd. Lake Wales. Featuring catered dinner and hour-long "Moonlight Carillon Concert," 4:00 to 8:30 p.m. Schedule of events:

  • Check-In 4:00 p.m.

  • Walk/Tourof the Gardens - (hour-long guided tour, first tour starts at 4:10 p.m.)
  • Chair Massages (4:30 - 6:00 p.m.)
  • Dinner (starts at 6:00 p.m.)
  • Moonlight Carillon Concert at the Tower (hour-long concert starting at 7:30 p.m., audible from anywhere in the gardens)

 courtesy bok tower gardens

All participants receive a free one year pass to Bok Tower Gardens. Reservations required. To RSVP or if you need respite for your loved one so that you can attend this event please contact the Alzheimer's Association, 863.292.9210 / thompsons@alzflgulf.org


* Indicates programs presented by the Alzheimer's Association- Florida Gulf Coast Chapter.

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 your local office 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.


Early Stage and Care Partner Groups



Beyond BASE Early Stage

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 and Lori Garrard

Register call (863) 292-9210


Winter Haven / Lake Wales

Beyond BASE Early Stage

Lake Ashton- Contact Chris Wilcox (863) 292-9210


Caregiver Meet-Up / Social
(for caregivers)



One Saturday a month @ 6:00 p.m., various locations

Call or email Stefanie Thompson for location.

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


Coffee Club
(for caregivers and people with dementia)


Lakeland (Begins March 5, 2013)

Highland Park Church, Family Ministry Bldg.

4730 Lakeland Highlands Rd, Lakeland

(863) 647-3518

1st Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.
For more information contact Stefanie Thompson

(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
1st Thursday at 10:00 a.m.

Facilitator: Stacie Cleveland

Lake Wales

Water's Edge of Lake Wales
10 Grove Avenue West, Lake Wales
3rd Thursday @ 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

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.

Southland Suites* (Lunch Provided)

4250 Lakeland Highlands Rd., Lakeland

(863) 701-7820

2nd Tuesday @ 1:00 p.m.

Facilitators: Donna Schoenenberger and Jo Lewis


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


Life Church at FishHawk

6420 Lithia Pinecrest Rd 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

RSVP required.

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

3rd Monday @ 3:00 p.m.

Facilitator: Chris Wilcox, (863) 292-9210

Hawthorne Inn of Winter Haven (Lunch Provided)
625 Overlook Drive, Winter Haven (863) 324-2212
3rd Wed. @ 11:30 a.m., Chris Wilcox, (863) 292-9210

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

Early Stage Program
The Alzheimer's Association has early stage dementia programs.


Are you or someone you know experiencing early stage dementia?  If so, they may qualify to participate in one of our early stage programs. 


For more information contact our office (863) 292-9210. 

Quick Links
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NIA Announces Funding of New Alzheimer's Research Studies
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) has announced the funding of four Alzheimer's therapy-related research studies investigating a variety of techniques, including a clinical trial of an anti-amyloid drug in people with pre-symptomatic Alzheimer's, an exercise intervention in MCI and a drug for reducing agitation.

The trials will be conducted by the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study, a national consortium of academic medical centers and clinics established by the National Institutes of Health to collaborate on the development of Alzheimer's treatments and diagnostic tools.
The funding for these projects comes from the regular NIA budget, not from increased 2013 funds due to the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease.
"The four research studies announced by the NIH are significant steps in the fight to better treat and eventually prevent Alzheimer's disease. However, because of the chronic underfunding of Alzheimer's research, there are many more equally valid and necessary investigations that are not happening," said William Thies, Ph.D., Alzheimer's Association senior scientist in residence.
"The Alzheimer's Association believes that if we are to more quickly unravel the important questions about Alzheimer's disease cause, risk, treatment and prevention, we must make a greater commitment to research. The first-ever U.S. National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease was unveiled in May 2012, and now this plan must be effectively implemented. An additional $100 million has been recommended for 2013 for Alzheimer's research, and now must be confirmed," Thies said.
For more information visit NIA or visit AA Research Center.  
Behavior: a Form of Communication
Adapted from the Alzheimer's Association Behavior Brochure


Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) can cause a person to act in different and unpredictable ways. Some individuals with ADRD become anxious or aggressive. Others repeat certain questions or gestures. Many misinterpret what they hear.


These types of reactions can lead to misunderstanding, frustration and tension, particularly between the person with dementia and the caregiver. It is important to understand that the person is not acting that way on purpose. Individuals with ADRD are not mad at you but rather are trying to convey a message.


Behavior may be related to:

  • Physical discomfort: illnesses or medication
  • Overstimulation: Loud noises or a busy environment
  • Unfamiliar surroundings: New places or the inability to recognize home
  • Complicated tasks: Difficulty with activities or chores
  • Frustrating interactions: Inability to communicate effectively

Three-Step Approach

Use this three-step approach to help identify common behaviors and their causes:


Identify and examine the behavior

  • What was the behavior? Is it harmful to the individual or others?
  • What happened just before the behavior occurred? Did something trigger it?
  • What happened immediately after the behavior occurred? How did you react?
  • Consult a physician to identify any causes related to medications or illness.

Explore potential solutions

  • What are the needs of the person with dementia? Are they being met?
  • Can adapting the surroundings comfort the person?
  • How can you change your reaction or your approach to the behavior? Are you responding in a calm and supportive way?

Try different responses

  • Did your new response help?
  • Do you need to explore other potential causes and solutions? If so, what can you do differently?

For more information visit the Caregiver Center.

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.
Seasonal Flu
According to the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the flu is high this season.  For this reason, they recommend influenza vaccination for people who have not yet been vaccinated this season and antiviral treatment as early as possible for people who get sick and are at high risk of flu complications. In addition, the CDC recommends taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
    Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu. 
  • Learn more at Take 3 Steps

For more information visit the Key Facts About Influenza. Or visit Flu + You

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.

February Tip

Communication Tip

From a family caregiver in the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter region. 


"My husband is having trouble hearing so when I start to talk to him I ask him to look at me.....he has had lip reading training and can read lips very well....that seems to keep him from yelling at me...."What did you say?"


The above tip highlights the importance of accommodating for hearing or vision impairments of the person being cared for. Dementia affects a person's ability to speak and understand language; deficits in hearing and vision can compound difficulties with understanding. The caregiver can help by:

  1. Encourage the person to wear their hearing aid and/or glasses (be sure batteries are working and glasses are clean!)
  2. Approach the person from the front.
  3. Make eye contact
  4. Speak slowly and clearly

For more communication tips click here.


Correction: January's tip was submitted by a caregiver in Polk County


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

Tips When Memory Changes

Alzheimer's disease will bring significant changes in  day-to-day experiences. Things will become increasingly difficult to do. The following suggestions may help people with the memory loss cope with daily life changes and plan for changes that will occur in the


  • Post a schedule of the things you do every day, such as meal times, exercise, a medication schedule and bed time.
  • Have someone call to remind you of meal times, appointments or your medication schedule.

  • Keep a book containing important notes, such as phone numbers, people's names, any thoughts or ideas you want to hold on to, appointments, your address and directions to your home.

  • Post important phone numbers in large print next to the phone.

  • Have someone help you label and store medications in a pill organizer.

  • Mark off days on a calendar to keep track of time.

  • Label photos with the names of those you see most often.

  • Label cupboards and drawers with words or pictures that describe their contents.

  • Have someone help you organize closets and drawers to make it easier to find what you need.

  • Post reminders to turn off appliances and lock doors.

For more information visit Coping with Changes.

Planning Ahead
Putting financial and legal plans in place now allows the person with dementia to express wishes for future care and decisions. It also allows time to work through the complex issues involved in long-term care.

Legal planning should include:

  • Making plans for health care and long-term care
  • Making plans for finances and property
  • Naming another person to make decisions on behalf of the person with dementia

Legal Documents

Legal documents help ensure that the wishes of the person with dementia are followed as the disease progresses and make it possible for others to make decisions on behalf of the person when he or she no longer can.

For more information about planning and legal documents visit Planning Ahead
If you have questions, concerns or just wish to talk to someone please feel free to contact us. 



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
Website: www.alz.org/flgulfcoast

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