The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Roubie Younkin
For the Courier 

Caregiving Expert Vicki Schmall to Speak on Alzheimer's


Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia often involves a team of people. Whether providing daily caregiving, participating in decision making, or simply caring about a person with the disease — there are resources to help. Vicki Schmall, Oregon State University, will speak and focus on caregiving topics at this program to be held at the Cottonwood Inn, Tuesday, April 23, and Wednesday, April 24.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth- leading cause of death in the United States; over 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with dementia and these caregivers provided and estimated 18.4 billion hours of care valued at over $323 billion. Deaths from heart disease have decreased 11 percent between 2000 and 2015 while deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased 123 percent. Dementia kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. A total of 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and by 2050 this is projected to rise to nearly 14 million.

Alzheimer’s is the most common, but not the only cause of dementia. Dementia is a general term used to describe memory loss as well as other cognitive abilities. Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. Currently, the greatest risk factor is increasing age, with the majority of people with Alzheimer’s being 65 or older. However, it is not just a disease of old age. Early-onset Alzheimers (65 and younger) affects nearly 200,000 Americans.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can slow the worsening.

Dr. Schmall aka “Ask Vicki” is executive director and gerontology & training specialist with Aging Concerns in West Linn, Ore. She is also professor emeritus of Oregon State University, where she worked for nearly 25 years, serving as the director of the OSU Program on gerontology and the gerontology specialist in the OSU Extension Service.

She specializes in topics such as family decision-making, communication and care-giving issues; aging and health-related changes; mental health issues; sensitivity training on aging-related changes; learning and memory in later life; late-life sexuality; and instruction/curriculum design and training. Schmall has created a variety of training programs and educational materials, as well as lead author of the book, The Caregiver Helpbook: Powerful Tools for Caregiving and producer of the video, The Many Faces of Caregiving. She has personal as well as professional experience with dementia caregiving and will address caregiving from a professional and personal perspective.

With the help of the MSU Outreach and Engagement seed grant program and the Montana Geriatrics Education Center, MSU Extension’s Marsha Goetting and Roubie Younkin are bringing in Dr. Vicki Schmall, executive director and gerontology training specialist to provide insight for family caregivers as well as health care professionals.

If you are affected by Alzheimer’s/Dementia either personally or in a caregiving situation, please plan to join us in the unique opportunity to learn from nationally renowned expert Vicki Schmall.

Day 1, Tuesday, April 23, will focus on dementia caregiving training for professionals and the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cotttonwood Inn. Lunch will be provided with a $15 fee.

Wednesday, April 24 will focus on dementia caregiving training for families/caregivers/public, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cottonwood Inn. Lunch will also be provided on this day with a $15 fee.

Goetting and Younkin will also be offering a pizza party/story time for youth the evening of April 24. A variety of childrens/young adult books will be available to help explain the Alzheimer’s caregiving experience from the perspective of a child. Area teens will be available to our local youth.

Pre-registration is recommended and appreciated. Please contact the Valley County Extension Office at 228-6241 for more information or registration forms.


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