The Sterling Heights Senior Center is now an Alzheimer’s Friendly Business. This two-year designation was awarded after multiple staff members completed training on how to best serve patrons with Alzheimer’s disease, and their caregivers.
The program, which was provided by the Home Instead Senior Care® office serving Macomb County, is a new campaign designed to make the community more Alzheimer’s friendly.
In a recent survey of Alzheimer’s caregivers, 74 percent reported that they and their loved ones have become more isolated from the community as a result of the disease. Furthermore, 85 percent reported that they feel a reduced quality of life due to isolation.
“For many caregivers, the unpredictable nature of the disease can make going out in public with their loved one intimidating,” said Kerry Gatti, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Macomb County. “Our research shows that family caregivers might be reluctant to frequent public places because of the behaviors that could be associated with the disease.”
The training helps staff recognize common characteristics of the disease and solutions to challenges that can arise when working with individuals with dementia. Based on the current statistics of 1 in 9 Americans ages 65+ having Alzheimer’s disease, or a related dementia, many of the visitors to the Senior Center are touched by the disease in one way or another. “As staff better understands the needs of all the patrons, our ability to provide customer service increases and becomes more well-rounded” said Kristen Briggs, Recreation Specialist at the Sterling Heights Senior Center. “The staff at the Center prides themselves on offering a place where all individuals over the age of 50 can feel safe while enjoying their leisure time, while also having access to a variety of resources and support staff.”
Parks and Recreation Manager Kyle Langlois views this designation as a great step for the residents of Sterling Heights, noting that “This designation puts us closer to reaching our goal of being A Community for Lifetime, which is a standard that supports the concept of having ample community resources that will assist our residents to successfully age in place.”
For more information about the programs and services offered through the Parks and Recreation Department’s Senior Center, please visit www.myshpr.net or call 586-446-2750.