The University of Guam is continuing the fight to help those with Dementia
A year-round program kicks off this month – the program looks to provide support and guidance for community members with Dementia.
PNC’s Damen Michael has this story
The University of Guam’s School of Health under the Guam/Micronesia Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program for the month of August is inviting the community to participate in several virtual support-group sessions focused on spiritual support for persons with dementia and family caregivers.
Nikolas Gutierrez, Co-Facilitator, UOG: School of Health said in an interview with PNC, ” We provide an online support group every Wednesday and Saturday of the week and its year round and it’s just an open forum for people to come express the difficulties and challenges of caregiving ask for any advice that anyone else might have and also maybe just talk about the joys and blessings that come along with it and even form a community.”
The program is funded by a $750K federal grant.
Gutierrez added that dementia care can be very isolating.
However, with proper support and guidance, a community can help bring together experienced, current, and future caregivers.
The virtual support group sessions 1st week kicked off yesterday, and will continue on the 6th.
The sessions will have representatives from the Mariana Islands Bahai Community.
Whereas the 2nd week on Aug 10th and 12th will have representatives of the Seventh Day Adventist Church
The 3rd week , August 17th and 20th, will have representatives from the Santa Barbara Catholic Church
On the final week – Aug 24th and 27th, they will have representatives from the St. John Episcopal Church.
According to Gutierrez through general statistics, approximately 1 in 10 individuals over the age of 50 years old will begin to develop various forms of dementia. Additionally every 10 years or even 5 years the chances of development increase.
He said, ” So it’s a really really common thing that we are seeing on the island. It’s something that we are seeing increasing as long as health care practices increase and people are aging and living longer we really see a lot more people developing dementia.”
Gutierrez added, that it’s hard to provide accurate numbers due to the fact that dementia is hard to diagnose. Most patients that come in already are within the moderate to later stages of the process.
Additionally, those with dementia sometimes can go years without noticing they have it because the symptoms can be hidden.
On average approximately 50 – 80 patients are serviced with the peak amount above the 100s.
Reporting for the Pacific News Center
I’m Damen Michael