Florida Gulf Coast Chapter


Polk County Update 

October 2013

In This Issue
Support Groups
Why I Walk to End Alzheimer's
Find a Walk Near You
Lessons from Super Seniors
Caregiver Jewels: More Than Exercise
Caregivers Take Note- Music as Therapy
Staying Engaged
All programs are free to attend unless otherwise specified.

Though some events are specifically designed for caregivers, anyone is welcome to attend. If you have questions about specific topics please contact our office. Note that people with a diagnosis will benefit from contacting our office prior to attending events.


September 26, 1:00 - 4:30 p.m. Caregiver Workshop at Hawthorne Inn, 6150 Lakeland Highlands Road, Lakeland, Topics include: Overview of Dementia, Tips to Navigate Communication, Taking Care of the Caregiver, Planning for the Future, and Hospice Not Just for the End of Life. For seating and refreshment purposes please RSVP to (863) 644-6414.


October 8, 4:00- 5:00 p.m. - Caregiver Education: Transitions at Valencia Hills Health & Rehab, 1350 Sleepy Hill Rd, Lakeland. This presentation is for family caregivers that are transitioning from one level of care to another care. Specifically, speakers will focus on nursing home placement and the roles that caregivers are transitioning into. RSVP for seating and refreshment purposes: Phone: 863-292-9210 / Email: thompsons@alzflgulf.org


October 10, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Art exhibit opening reception featuring Maryanne Craft Arts Ensemble International Gallery, 1000 American

Superior Blvd, Winter Haven.  Refreshments provided by Valencia Hills Health and Rehab.

 Exhibit runs October 10 - 31, 2013.  For more information or to scheduling a viewing,

call 863.292.9210


October 17, 6:00 p.m. Caregiver Education, Understanding Medications with Dr. Jeff Reddout and Resources for Alzheimer's with Stefanie Thompson at St. Johns United Methodist Church, 1800 Cypress Gardens Blvd., Winter Haven, in Room 108-109. Contact (863) 292-9210 for RSVP.


October 23, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Caregiver Education: Basics of Alzheimer's at Alzheimer's Association, 1000 American Superior Blvd, Winter Haven Contact (863) 292-9210 for RSVP.


October 29, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Caregiver Education: Basics of Alzheimer's at Alzheimer's Association, 1000 American Superior Blvd, Winter Haven. Contact (863) 292-9210 to RSVP.


October 30, 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m., Walk to End Alzheimer's Polk County Walk Bank Day. Turn in your fundraising money early! Stop by The Estates at Carpenters (1001 Carpenters Way Lakeland, FL 33809) Contact Katie Hood 727-259-2317 for more information.


October 30, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Caregiver Education: Challenging Behaviors of Alzheimer's at Florida Blue, 385 Cypress Gardens Blvd, Winter Haven, FL. Contact (863) 292-9210 for RSVP.


October 31, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Information and resources about dementia and dementia care at City of Lakeland's health fair.




November 2, Walk to End Alzheimer's, First Presbyterian Church, 175 Lake Hollingsworth Dr., Lakeland, FL 33801. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. ; Walk begins at 10:00 a.m.


November 12, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. Caregiver Education: When Grandma is Not Grandma Anymore at Valencia Hills Health & Rehab, 1350 Sleepy Hill Rd, Lakeland. Presented by Stefanie Thompson, M.A., director of programs for early stage dementia / senior program specialist, AAFGCC; and Sherry Robinson, LPN, dementia care unit manager, Valencia Hills Health and Rehab. This presentation offers insight into the behavioral challenges that can arise in people with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. It offers communication strategies and tips on how to manage difficult behaviors. RSVP for seating and refreshment purposes: Phone: 863-292-9210 / Email: thompsons@alzflgulf.org


November 14, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Caregiver Education, two back to back topics at Southland Suites 4250 Lakeland Highlands Rd., Lakeland 33813. RSVP for seating and refreshment purposes: Phone: 863-292-9210 / Email: thompsons@alzflgulf.org

  • When the Brain Has Hiccups- sometimes our brains have hiccups or rather our neurons misfire, with an end result of not remembering a phone number, name or the location of keys. This presentation takes these hiccups into account by focusing on brain mechanics and dementia (Alzheimer's and some related forms of dementia). It compares normal age related changes to abnormal changes to the brain while offering insight into the evaluation process. Attendees can learn how to start the diagnostic process and what a through diagnosis can look like.
  • Why Long-term Planning is Important. This presentation offers information about long-term planning including important documents that caregivers must have in place and available community resources. Presentation presented by Chapter staff and or a geriatric care manager or elder law attorney.

November 21, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Caregiver Education, two back to back topics at Southland Suites 4250 Lakeland Highlands Rd., Lakeland 33813. RSVP for seating and refreshment purposes: Phone: 863-292-9210 / Email: thompsons@alzflgulf.org

  • When Grandma is Not Grandma Anymore: This presentation offers insight into the behavioral challenges that can arise in people with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. It offers communication strategies and tips on how to manage difficult behaviors.
  • Activities and Engagement for Persons with Dementia: Presented by Jo Lewis, Recreational Therapist, Clare Bridge Cottage. People living with Alzheimer's disease or related dementias have not lost their need to be and feel involved. This training provides caregivers with an understanding of the different types of appropriate activities, tips for planning activities and resources available.

December 10, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.- Caregiver Education: Handling Holidays at Valencia Hills Health & Rehab, 1350 Sleepy Hill Rd, Lakeland.  Don't let the holidays overwhelm you. Learn to manage the holidays to fit you and your loved ones new routine. This personation covers tips and tricks to minimize stress during holidays and family gatherings. RSVP for seating and refreshment purposes: Phone: 863-292-9210 / Email: thompsons@alzflgulf.org.


December 12, Caregiver Education: Understanding Dementia Care with Teepa Snow, (for family and professional caregivers) at Highland Park Church of the Nazarene, Lakeland, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. FREE respite. Please call 863-686-7333 with any questions.  Family caregivers sign up hereProfessionals sign up here.

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



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


Coffee Club(social club for caregivers and people with late early to mid- stage dementia)



Highland Park Church, Family Ministry Bldg.

4730 Lakeland Highlands Rd, Lakeland

(863) 647-3518

1st Tuesday, 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, 10:00 a.m.

Facilitator: Stacie Cleveland

Hawthorne Inn -Lakeland* (Lunch Provided)
6150 Lakeland Highlands Road, (863) 644-6414
1st Thursday, 1:00 p.m.

Facilitators: Diane Wilson and Michelle Sharpe


Caregiver support Groups Continued



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
Fourth Wednesday at 12:00 p.m.

Facilitator, Rich Quinn, (863) 858-4402

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


Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (Men's Group)
3900 Don Emerson Drive, Lakeland

3rd Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. Facilitator: Chris Wilcox

Contact Polk Office: (863) 292-9210


Cypress Lakes
10000 US 98 North, Lakeland, (863) 859-2136
3rd Thursday, 10:30 a.m.

Facilitator: Alyss Ervolina

To attend RSVP to Gwen Snook for gate pass.


Arbor Oaks

4141 Lakeland Hills Blvd, Lakeland

(863) 774-3187

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



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, 6:00 p.m.

Co-facilitators: Stormie Thayer


Winter Haven
St. John's United Methodist Church

1800 Cypress Gardens Blvd., Winter Haven

Meet in Church Library

1st Thursday, 6:00 p.m.,

Facilitator: Larry Powell, (863)292-9210


Florida Blue

385 Cypress Gardens Blvd., Winter Haven

2nd Monday, 3:00 p.m. Snacks provided. 

Facilitator: Chris Wilcox, (863) 292-9210


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. 

Quick Links
Like us on Facebook
Why I Walk to End Alzheimer's
08-30-2013 17:08:36 p.m.
Karen Garner, Blogger, blog.alz.org

Good question. I don't do it for me. I walk because I have a husband who has younger-onset Alzheimer's disease. I walk because my husband's brother passed away from younger-onset Alzheimer's disease. I walk because their Mom passed away from younger-onset Alzheimer's disease -and possibly their Grandmother and [...]... Read moreĽ


Find a Walk Near You
Click on the link below for the walk near you.  If you will be out of town, you can still participate as a virtual walker.

JOIN US! Click on the links below to find a walk near you.

Lessons from Super Seniors
Trish Watson, Estates at Carpenters
Pushing boundaries, ignoring stereotypes, and blazing new trails are the attributes of Super Seniors. Older adults who choose to discard the automatic, negative associations toward being old are aging in extraordinary ways. 
Bob Smith of Lakeland tandem jump's.
Super Seniors live their lives with the motto "What's age got to do with it?"

The mindset you hold towards aging has a tremendous influence on how well you will age. Studies show that genetics have only a 30% influence on the length of our lives; the remaining 70% depends on whether you have the right attitude, stay active and continue doing the things you love, and remain open to trying new things.

If people believe that their later years can be a time of good health and vitality, and they are willing to incorporate the lifestyle behaviors that will make it happen, the results can be amazing.  Several residents of the Estates at Carpenters possess this Super Senior mentality, among them are Bob Smith, Peggy Peppers, and Bunny MacMunn.

Bob Smith participated in a tandem parachute jump with Bob Crossman from Skydive Deland.  Bob just wanted to try something new and exciting.  Age wasn't part of his decision.

Peggy Peppers didn't see why her age should stop her from going zip lining in the foothills of the Missouri Ozarks.

Bunny MacMunn is teaching Gentle Yoga to her fellow Estates residents.  She isn't short of students either.  Residents who were starting to have trouble with balance and flexibility couldn't wait to give Bunny's classes a try, even though some of them were never health-conscious or even involved in physical activities when they were younger. The difference is that they don't let that stop them.

Super Seniors have four key elements in their lives.
  • They are optimistic and have a positive attitude.
  • They are engaged and feel a passion for life, and retain, discover, or develop a sense of purpose.
  • The third element is being active and mobile.  They move, function, and maintain independence by exercising and staying active.
  • The final element is being adaptable when it comes to loss.  Super Seniors are resilient. They deal with and adapt to the difficulties of life by dealing with a loss or problem and then letting it go.
Life is what you make of it. Negative beliefs about aging will prevent you from experiencing growing older as a positive thing. Instead of waking up in the morning, and asking themselves "How much longer do I have left to live?" these Super Seniors ask themselves "What can I do to make the best of today?" 
Much thanks goes to the Estates at Carpenters, a 2013 15,000 Leaps Sponsor for the Walk to End Alzheimer's. Click on the above links to learn more.
Caregiver Jewels
Emily Reese, Program Specialist, AAFGCC
Caregiver Jewels is a column featuring tips from 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.

October Tip
More than Exercise 
A caregiver shared how much she enjoys using an audio cassette (which she had copied to CD) titled "Walk to the Beat" as an exercise activity for her and her husband. She and her husband listen to the CD while they walk about in the comfort of their air-conditioned home.
Benefits for the caregiver
  • Enjoyable activity to share with the person with dementia.
  • Exercise is excellent for caregiver stress reduction, promoting caregiver brain health and is overall beneficial to physical health.
  • May reduce the risk of depression.

Benefits for the person with dementia

  • Enjoyable activity to share with their loved one.
  • Exercise may improve balance and reduce falls.
  • Adequate exercise during the day can promote more restful sleep at night.
  • Music can help stimulate motor coordination.
The audio cassette she uses is no longer produced but there are other exercise audio C.D.'s available.  Try searching for music at the Alzheimer's Store (http://www.alzstore.com)  or simply use music that you already have. Good choices are music with an upbeat rhythm that the person with dementia enjoys. Note that this would be a great project for a grandchild to "burn" a CD for grandparents to use.
Note: The information in this column is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Caregivers Take Note - Music as Therapy
02-24-2024 17:08:36 PM
Sherri Snelling, Blogger, blog.alz.org
When Glen Campbell took the stage at the Grammy Awards and accepted his Lifetime Achievement Award, he did so as one of the more than 5 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.  What is inspiring about the 75-year-old Campbell's Grammy night appearance is that he has not retired from his love of making music despite his recent diagnosis.  In fact, he is starting his Farewell Tour and is cutting a new album.
Glen Campbell Interview 2011: Discusses Battle With Alzheimer's Disease, Final Tour and New Album
Glen Campbell Interview 2011: Discusses Battle With Alzheimer's Disease, Final Tour and New Album

Is music one of the keys to a longer, happier life - despite your health issues? [...]  Click here to read more.

Staying Engaged
Stefanie Thompson, Director Early Stage Programs, AAFGCC

A person in the early stages of dementia may withdraw from activities he or she previously enjoyed. Caregivers can help their loved one stay engaged by offering support and helping to elder-picnic.jpgencourage slight adjustments (e.g., choosing smaller social groups over larger groups, or choosing to paint abstractly verses realistically).   


As dementia, such as Alzheimer's, progresses, other adjustments may be necessary.  to the activity. Use the following tips:

  • Keep the person's skills and abilities in mind. A person with dementia may be able to play simple songs learned on the piano years ago. Bring these types of skills into daily activities.
  • Pay special attention to what the person enjoys. Take note when the person seems happy, anxious, distracted or irritable. Some people enjoy watching sports, while others may be frightened by the pace or noise.
  • Consider if the person begins activities without directionDoes he or she set the table before dinner or sweep the kitchen floor mid-morning? If so, you may wish to plan these activities as part of the daily routine.
  • Be aware of physical problems. Does he or she get tired quickly or have difficulty seeing, hearing or performing simple movements?
  • Focus on enjoyment, not achievement.  Find activities that build on remaining skills and talents. A professional artist might become frustrated over the declining quality of work, but an amateur might enjoy a new opportunity for self expression. For activity ideas join ALZConnected, our message boards and online support community. Every day, caregivers like you share new ideas and encourage one another.
  • Encourage involvement in daily life.  Activities that help the individual feel like a valued part of the household - like setting the table - can provide a sense of success and accomplishment.
  • Relate to past work life. A former office worker might enjoy activities that involve organizing, like putting coins in a holder or making a to-do list. A farmer or gardener may take pleasure in working in the yard.
  • Look for favoritesThe person who always enjoyed drinking coffee and reading the newspaper may still find these activities enjoyable, even if he or she is not able to completely understand what the newspaper says.
  • Consider time of dayCaregivers may find they have more success with certain activities at specific times of day, such as bathing and dressing in the morning.
  • Adjust activities to disease stages. As the disease progresses, you may want to introduce more repetitive tasks. Be prepared for the person to eventually take a less active role in activities.
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 County Office

1000 American Superior Blvd.

Winter Haven, FL 33880

Telephone: 863-292-9210

Email: thompsons@alzflgulf.org


Website: www.alz.org/flgulfcoast







Programs made possible in part through funding by




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