January 5, 2006

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations, Sementha Mathews Manager of Public Information and Media Relations

Alzheimer's Daycare Program at Valdosta State University's Divisionof Social Work gets new name and location

For nearly six years, Valdosta State University's Division of Social Work has been administering the Alzheimer's Daycare program, funded by a state grant through the Southeast Georgia Regional Development Center's Area Agency on Aging, for those with an early to mid-stage Alzheimer's Disease diagnosis or similar dementia. The daycare program, which recently relocated to 109 West Moore Street, has changed its name to best reflect its homey and cheerful service.

Activities Director Terrie May said the new name, My Friend's House, depicts the warm cozy atmosphere and services available at the facility. She said activities at the daycare creatively stimulate the social, mental, physical, and spiritual lives of the participants and are much like hanging out at your "friend's house."

"They (the participants) may not remember my name, but they know I'm their friend," said May, who has eight years of experience in the field of working with dementia.

The services are offered at no cost to eligible participants in the program who have the ability to ambulate, have continence, and are able to feed themselves. May said that donations, however, are welcome and accepted.

The program also offers a support group on the third Wednesday of each month for caregivers of people with dementia. This group allows people to share and discover positive ways to care for and cope with their loved ones.

My Friend's House is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and participants can stay for a few hours or the entire day. Participants should have transportation to and from the facility and need to bring their own meals. Snacks and drinks are provided.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, an estimated 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, a number that has more than doubled since 1980. In a Gallup poll commissioned by the Alzheimer's Association, 1 in 10 Americans said that they had a family member with Alzheimer's and 1 in 3 knew someone with the disease.

For more information about My Friend's House, call their new number at 293-6146.

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