ON THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER, ‘THE LONGEST DAY’ RAISES AWARENESS FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH ALZHEIMER’S
Friday marked the official first day of summer, with the sun rising at 5:41 a.m. and setting at 8:03 p.m. With the summer solstice bringing the longest day of sunlight, for those living with Alzheimer’s disease, the longest day of the year means something a bit more.
The Longest Day raises awareness and support for those with Alzheimer’s, a memory disorder that can impact an entire family. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are more than 5 million Americans living with the disease, and it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.
“Dementia’s the umbrella and Alzheimer’s is just a form that’s under that umbrella of dementia,” Laderrick Smith, Caring Days Adult Day Care’s program director, said.
Some signs and symptoms to look out for are confusion and forgetfulness that disrupts daily life, misplacing items and changes in mood or personality. And for adults age 40 to 65, this could begin to become a reality. Smith has recommendations for people who begin to show signs of the disease.
“First of all, get your physician involved,” he said. “That way, they can make a recommendation or referral to a neurologist. Also, coming to a place like Caring Days because here we promote social interaction. Also we promote a lot of activities such as cognitive activities, motor skills activities and sensory activities.”
Caring Days Adult Day Care has been open in Tuscaloosa since 1997. Smith said the staff is trained to help people with memory disorders but they are also there for caregivers throughout the community.
“Our hearts do go out to caregivers,” he said. “Our program is also set up for caregivers, as well. We have family support groups for individuals or for the caregivers. And also we have ‘Project Lifesaver,’ which is a transmitter that we can place on the person so that way if they become lost, we can be able to work with the sheriff’s department for recovery of that individual.”
Caring Days will have its annual “A Walk to Remember” fundraiser August 17. Call the facility at 205-752-6840 for details about that and their services. For more information about Alzheimer’s and dementia, visit alz.org.