OXFORD – University of Mississippi faculty, staff and students and the community will participate in an Oxford Alzheimer’s Tribute on Tuesday.
The event begins at 5:15 p.m. in front of the “Bardo of Rose” sculpture on the grounds of University Museum, Fifth Street and University Avenue. All are invited to a ceremony and reception in recognition of those who have suffered with dementia and their caregivers.
“In conjunction with World Alzheimer’s Day, we are revealing a new community program called ‘Memory Makers: Respite Day Services of Oxford’,” said Jo Ann O’Quin, Ole Miss professor of social work. O’Quin is a founding member of the Alzheimer’s Caregivers Support Group and a board member of the Mississippi chapter of Alzheimer’s Association.
“We have long known there is a critical need for caregivers to have periodic relief from their responsibilities,” O’Quin said. “Through the respite program, caregivers get some needed timeouts and those in the early stages of memory loss will have a social outlet.”
Beginning Oct. 18, the nonprofit day program will meet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays at the First Presbyterian Church fellowship hall, 934 Van Buren Ave. Activities are designed to meet the functional level of each individual and include games, stories, crafts, exercises and music. The cost per participant is $20 a day.
“Volunteers are needed and very appreciated,” said Dianne Arnold, Alzheimer’s trainer for north Mississippi with the state Department of Mental Health. “In addition to volunteers, we welcome donations for participant ‘scholarships’ and for various materials and supplies. All donations are tax-deductible.”
Progressive and irreversible, Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a group of disorders that impairs mental functioning. An estimated 5 million Americans, including 53,000 Mississippians, suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
“Alzheimer’s costs more than $148 billion each year in direct and indirect costs and creates huge burdens for caregivers,” O’Quin said. “We are committed to providing education and support for those living with Alzheimer’s and for their loved ones until there is a world without Alzheimer’s.”
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