Alzheimer’s Association readies program

PARKERSBURG – The Alzheimer’s Association West Virginia Chapter is launching a new resource to help people living in the early stage of Alzheimer’s remain mentally and socially active post-diagnosis.

The Living with Alzheimer’s Program is for newly diagnosed patients, their caregivers and family members and will be held at three locations across West Virginia: Charleston, Morgantown and Parkersburg.

Traditionally, people have been diagnosed later in the progression of Alzheimer’s so many dementia-related programs have been primarily focused on serving people in the middle stage of the disease, said Laurel Kirksey, executive director of the state chapter.

The Alzheimer’s Association encourages early detection to ensure that families can plan for the future together and take advantage of available resources. Also with earlier detection, individuals in the early stage are seeking more opportunities for social engagement where they can interact and connect with others facing similar challenges, she said.

“The Living with Alzheimer’s Program provides the opportunity for individuals – regardless of age – who have recently received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis to remain active while sharing experiences with others who are living with the early stages of Alzheimer’s,” said Kirksey. “The intent of this program is to create a safe environment for individuals to continue to stay engaged in the local community while receiving the resources to plan for the future.”

The Living with Alzheimer’s Program will be held in Parkersburg and Morgantown on Nov. 4, 11 and 18 and in Charleston on Nov. 4, 11 and 19. In Parkersburg, the program will be offered at the Alzheimer’s Association office at 1218 Market St.

An RSVP for the program is required by calling 800-272-3900 and a brief consultation will be conducted prior to entrance in the program. At the conclusion of the three-day workshops, participants will have the opportunity to become involved in Early Stage Engagement Groups in their local communities which will feature a variety of group-selected social activities.

For more information about Alzheimer’s disease or to learn about an early-stage program in your area, visit the Alzheimer’s Association, West Virginia Chapter at or call 800-272-3900.

Kirksey said an informal national survey conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association found that 84 percent of respondents have not attended an early-stage social engagement program, but 78 percent would consider attending one offered through the Alzheimer’s Association.

The Living with Alzheimer’s Program provides a way for people in the early stage of the disease to get out, remain active and connect with one another, she said.

The Alzheimer’s Association, West Virginia Chapter is the only voluntary health organization in West Virginia solely dedicated to providing education and support service to individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and to their families and caregivers. The chapter serves all 55 counties in West Virginia and six counties in eastern Ohio. The chapter provides 24/7 support for individuals and families facing Alzheimer’s disease. Information is also available online at www.alz.org/wv.