Family members sometimes don’t know what they’re dealing with until it’s too late when it comes to diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia -- in some cases, that means missing a window for early medical intervention that can help slow the progression of the disease.
On Thursday, members of the Prince George’s South County chapter of Dementia Friendly America met with the faith based community for a conversation on how Alzheimer’s and dementia are impacting residents and ways to help affected families.
“In the African-American community the incidents [of Alzheimer’s diagnoses] are higher and the outcomes are more negative than with other communities. Much of it is access or lack of access to healthcare and lack of access to diets that are healthy,” said Dr.Flavia Walton, a team leader for Dementia Friendly America
Thursday's meeting at Community of Hope AME Church in Temple Hills, Maryland, was a start to figuring out how to increase awareness for early detection, improve access to medication and grow resources for families living with the impacts of these illnesses.
There are also concerns surrounding keeping patients safe. When people realize someone is suffering with memory loss, they may target them for money and fraud, according to Drew Grigg, Assistant State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County.
“Select a trusted family member or good friend who can be trusted with finances. Maybe put them on the bank account and give them power of attorney but be careful with who you designate to do those sorts of things,” Grigg said.
If you live in Prince George’s County and are looking for additional resources to help with your loved one, you can contact Adult Protective Services at (301) 909-2000. If you’re worried your loved one is the victim of fraud, call the State’s Attorney’s Office at (301) 952-3500. You can also reach the Prince George’s County Police Economic Crimes Division at (301) 699-2940.