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March 2016
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In This Issue - March 2016

Start Your Relationship With A Dementia Care Coach Today
Telling a Person They Need Long-Term Nursing Home Care
Dementia Care Training for Family and Professional Caregivers
Caregiver Health Fair Offered Exclusively in Spanish
Chapter Welcomes New Education and Helpline Staff


Let us be your direct link to help with Alzheimer’s
When you have a question about Alzheimer’s disease or what to do in caring for a loved one with the disease, please call or email us:

Quick Link: Upcoming educational classes for caregivers

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Start Your Relationship With A Dementia Care Coach Today

The Cleveland Area Chapter is proud to offer free Dementia Care Coaching services that provide personalized information and ongoing support related to the care of a person with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. Studies have shown that those who participate in Dementia Care Coaching experienced improved care, less stress, fewer visits to the emergency room and delayed nursing home placement. Our Dementia Care Coaches offer coaching and support, health and care information, coordination of family and friends and referrals to community services. 
Click here to view three of our Dementia Care Coach profiles. Call our Helpline at 800.272.3900 and start your relationship with one of our Care Consultants today


Telling a Person They Need Long-Term Nursing Home Care

More difficult than making a decision to move a person into a care facility is telling the person that the time has come for a move. Some factors that may indicate a need for nursing home placement include:

  • A caregiver can no longer adequately provide the necessary care the person with dementia needs.
  • The person with dementia may live alone and can no longer take care of him or herself. (Neglecting personal care, exhibiting unsafe behaviors such as wandering or not taking medications properly.)
  • A caregiver can no longer maintain their own physical, emotional and/or financial well-being while continuing to provide adequate care for the person with dementia.

Planning ahead

Ideally, discussions with a person about nursing home placement and care preferences have taken place while the person is still able to understand and take an active part in decision-making. The more involved in the decision a person is, the more satisfied he or she will be with the results. If a move is done “to them”, they’ll feel powerless and may fight the relocation. If it is done “with them”, they have a sense of control and a better adjustment is possible.

Communicating the news

Even though you made decisions about nursing home care with the individual, he or she may have forgotten due to disease progression. If you think the person will understand, explain what is happening and why (i.e., all other care options have been exhausted; you need more care than I can provide to keep you healthy and safe, etc.)

Consider the time of day and circumstances under which the person would accept the news best. Choose a time when the person is calm and without a lot of distractions.

Consider having a doctor, a home health nurse or social worker tell the person that he or she needs more care than can be provided at home. The person may listen to a professional.

When the time comes for the move, be honest and tell the person where they are going. Do not get the person in the car and say that you are “going for a ride” or “a visit” somewhere. Such dishonesty may lead the person to have problems with adjusting to the nursing home.The same is true if you tell the person they will be able to “go home when they get better.” The person will expect this to happen and may not get involved with nursing home life, form relationships or engage in activities.

Reaction/adjustment to the news

Most likely the person with dementia will be upset by the news. There may be resistance, resentment, and the person may blame you for having to move. These reactions should not change your mind about the move. You are making the decision with the person’s interest, quality of care and life at heart.

The person may feel rejected or abandoned. Address their feelings. Be patient and reassure the person about their value, both as a person and as a member of the family. Reassure the person that you love him or her, and that you will visit.

Help the person express and handle feelings about the move. Do not argue with what he or she may be feeling— it only puts the person more on the defense. If the person gets upset when you bring up the move, mention it only when necessary.

Before the move

Have the person choose personal belongings he or she would like to take to the new home.

If practical, talk about other residents who will be at the facility (e.g. roommates, food staff, activity directors), as well as visiting schedules and privacy. If possible, address who the person’s doctors, nurses, aides and therapists will be and the medical routines they will be expected to follow.

Acquaint yourself with the person’s care providers. Allow them to get to know the person better by:

  • Providing photographs from the person’s life.
  • Sharing stories or memories about the person prior to his or her diagnosis.
  • Preparing a written personal history.
  • Explaining favorite hobbies, activities and interests.
  • Relaying caregiver tips that worked for you

After the move

Once the person has moved, try to visit often during the first few weeks to help the person feel secure. Be aware of the person's response and reactions before, during and after your visits and, if necessary, adjust visits accordingly.

Allow time for your loved one to adjust to the new surroundings.

If the person insists on returning home with you, this may be his or her way to express anxiety or unhappiness. Give the person reassurance and affection. Consult the social worker or director of nursing about the best approach to this issue for the person with dementia.


Dementia Care Training for Family and Professional Caregivers

Don’t miss the Alzheimer Association Cleveland Area Chapter’s Dementia Care Training in 2016. The training is FREE and offered to both family and professional caregivers who provide care to those with dementia-related diseases.

The program provides an overview of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, teaches effective communication techniques, gives ideas on how to engage those with cognitive problems, and provides strategies for managing challenging behavior.

Four social work CEUs are available to attendees. Please plan to bring a brown bag lunch. Registration is required at 800.272.3900.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Lake County Council on Aging
8520 East Ave.
Mentor, 44060

Wednesday, May 18, 2016
9:00am - 3:00pm
French Creek YMCA
2010 Recreation Lane
Avon, 44011

Thursday, June 30, 2016
Alzheimer’s Association Beachwood
23215 Commerce Park, Suite 300
Beachwood, 44122

Visit our website for more information at


Caregiver Health Fair Offered Exclusively in Spanish

Join the Cleveland Area Chapter on Saturday, May 21st at the Hispanic Senior Center, 7800 Detroit Ave., Cleveland. The day will include health screenings, ZUMBA lesssions, raffles and a variety of resources for the Hispanic community. Breakfast, lunch and FREE parking is available. Registration is requested to either:

  • Hispanic Senior Center (216) 631-3599
  • Monica Olivera (216) 571-6293
  • or/ Alzheimer's Association (800) 272-3900

The event is sponsored by The Cleveland Clinic, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland and the Alzheimer’s Association.


Chapter Welcomes New Education and Helpline Staff

Click here to read more about our exciting staff additions.

Stacey Heffernan
Education & Healthcare Outreach Coordinator

The Alzheimer’s Association Cleveland Area Chapter continues to provide a variety of education and outreach opportunities in order to enable families living with Alzheimer’s disease to more easily connect to the resources available in the community. Education and Outreach Coordinator, Stacey Heffernan, will be responsible for coordinating and conducting educational programs in the community and providing support and assistance to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their families.

Stacey is past director of the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center (CVEEC), Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Peninsula. There she managed the operation of a residential environmental education center that served 9,000 youth per year. She brings a vast array of educational and management experience that will allow her to bring an innovative and experienced eye to our organization.

Stacey also worked as the Adult Programs Coordinator and Science Instructor at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and currently serves as a part-time 11th grade environmental science teacher at Yavne Academy in Beachwood. We are thrilled to have her as a member of our team. Stacey can be reached at or 216.342.5598.

Mary Ertle
Helpline Specialist

Mary joined the Cleveland Area Chapter as a volunteer in June 2015 and accepted her new role as a full-time Helpline Specialist in November. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago, Magna Cum Laude in May 2015 with a double major in Human Services and Sociology.

While at Loyola University, Mary completed an internship with the Alzheimer’s Association’s National Office, where she served as a quality assurance intern. Mary also served on the Executive Board of Alpha Phi Omega and was President of the Loyola University Fair Trade Committee.

Her ability to solve problems and answer questions was recognized during her time as an intern with Alderman Brendan Reilly of the 42nd Ward City of Chicago where she addressed concerns and fielded large volumes of constituent phone calls. Her passion for helping people comes across over the phone everyday.

Last year more than 4,500 callers were assisted from Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Lorain Counties. These callers are assisted 24-hours a day by Mary and other trained staff and volunteers like her.

Call 800.272.3900 anytime!
No question is too big or too small.

Natalie M. Besser
Care Consultant & Support Group Specialist (Mentor)

Natalie Besser has joined the Cleveland Area Chapter as a full-time Care Consultant and Support Group Specialist providing support and assistance to caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer's disease or dementia.  Natalie is coming to us from the Cleveland Sight Center (CSC), where she served as a Vocational Rehabilitation Coordinator for the blind and visually impaired seeking employment assistance under the direction of the Opportunity for Ohioans with Disabilities Agency (OOD).

In addition, Natalie has over 20 years of Social Work (LSW) and Mediation experience working formerly with the Long Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) program, as a Certified Ombudsman Specialist, Volunteer Supervisor, Residents' Rights Advocate, and Committee Representative for the Northern District of Ohio Health Care Fraud Task Force and Ohio Elder Abuse Task Force.  In addition, to working at the Benjamin Rose Institute as a Case Manager for an intensive outreach caseload of moderately / severely disabled elderly clients.

Natalie has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology / Sociology from John Carroll University and she is certified as a Family Court Mediator.  She is a great addition to our fantastic staff team.  Natalie can be reached at 440.342.5599 or


In the News…Read the Spring issue of our Updates Newsletter.


Find a Support Group

Support groups are an open gathering of people with common issues, needs and interests who come together to share their thoughts and experiences to better cope with and manage the challenges of dementia.

Alzheimer’s Association support groups are available throughout the United States.

Find a support group anywhere in the country.


Important Dates in 2016


Our Helpline is here for you 24/7

Call (800) 272-3900

The Alzheimer's Association 24/7 Helpline provides reliable information and support to all those who need assistance. Call us toll-free anytime day or night at 1.800.272.3900.

Our 24/7 Helpline serves people with memory loss, caregivers, health care professionals and the public. Highly trained and knowledgeable staff can help you with:

  • Understanding memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer's
  • Medications and other treatment options
  • General information about aging and brain health
  • Skills to provide quality care and to find the best care from professionals
  • Legal, financial and living-arrangement decisions

Our 24/7 Helpline also features:

  • Confidential care consultation that can help with decision-making, provide support, crisis assistance and education on issues families face every day
  • Help in a caller's preferred language using our translation service that features more than 200 languages and dialects
  • Referrals to local community programs, services and ongoing support

Find more caregiving tips online here!


Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.