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Wyoming Chapter of Alzheimer’s Association meets in Alpine

 

• Community meeting held in Alpine to raise awareness

The Wyoming Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association held a community meeting in Alpine May 28 to raise awareness and to discuss next steps.

Debra Antista-Bianchi serves as Executive Director for the Wyoming Chapter and she says the program serves all causes of dementia not just Alzheimer’s disease and work on gathering funding and helping with resources. She says a community forum is always how they want to begin work in an area. She says stakeholders talk about the issues of Alzheimer and dementia.

“Then try to find…what are the resources and gaps in resources,” Antista-Bianchi said. “The long game is to come back later on, deliver some community education together with the community partners, serve the folks that really need us, and then eventually build out other programs like caregiver support groups and more.”

Andrea Burchard participated as a community member representing The Bank of Jackson Hole. She says there were different representations in many parts of Lincoln County. She says there were a lot of first responders there.

“They are really at a loss on what to do when they come across an Alzheimer or dementia patient,” Burchard said. “They’re really looking for help.”

She says caregivers asked for resources as well. She says all the libraries had representation at the event too.

“Much like banking,” Burchard said. “They see the same repeat people over and over and over again. We can detect when maybe something is a little bit off and they need some help with knowing how to go forward with that.”

Antista-Bianchi says that in any rural place you should partner with the library because they are “the hub”.

Burchard says the first step is there needs to be education the Alzheimer’s Association exists. She says there needs to be volunteers that get involved on a local level as well.

“The other thing we can start doing is work with the Association to provide some training to different sectors of the community,” Burchard said. “To help understand how to deal with situations that come up.”

Antista-Bianchi says the next steps for them is to begin training first responders. She says they will also return to give community education to people such as caregivers.

“The folks that are kind of in the trenches every day,” Antista-Bianchi said. “We have some excellent programs that are so supportive and really help people learn skills that can help them care for their person, help to address maybe those behaviors that are presenting in ways that are really supportive, and help bring those behaviors down.”

She says these matters are really the more “exacerbating” issues for community of caregivers. She says most places have some systems in place and what she hopes is with collaboration they can build a “stronger safety net”.

She says if you need any help or resources, you can begin immediately by calling their help line which is staffed by masters trained professionals at 1-800-272-3900. It is open 24 hours per day and is no cost. You can also reach out to Antista-Bianchi through phone or email, but she did say she is a little harder to reach by phone as she is often on the road. Her number is 307-459-1675 and her email is debianchi@alz.org. You can also go to their website here (https://www.alz.org/wyoming) to find her as well. There is also a lot of information on the website for any questions you may have.

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