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Forest County Potawatomi Community to host Alzheimer's Awareness event this Thursday


If there is one thing Cathleen Diedrick wants to drive home with people, it's that dementia is not an “old person’s disease.”

“The reason I can say that and confirm it 100% is my father, my own father, actually died 13 years ago this month at age 61. There is early onset, and that's what, unfortunately, ultimately took his life if he was 61 years old,” said Diedrick.

She said back then there were so many misconceptions and misinformation about dementia and Alzheimer’s and how to interact with someone who has the disease.

His death inspired Diedrick to become an advocate for educating people. She’s now the Dementia Care Specialist for the Forest County Potawatomi Community.

“If I can prevent one person from having to go through that same thing that my own father had to that I did well,” said Diedrick.

Forest County Potawatomi Community

As part of the education, and in conjunction with Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, Forest County Potawatomi is hosting an event at the community center Thursday, September 14th.

“There will be other dementia care specialists along with myself to be there and help educate persons that are wondering, ‘What is this disease?’ and how can they just work with persons better, and communicate with them in a better healthy way. Make them just really have a better quality of life at this stage that they are within Alzheimer's or dementia,” she said.

People will also be able to take a Virtual Dementia Tour.

According to the organization, "The Virtual Dementia Tour, created by P.K. Beville, is a scientifically proven method of building a greater understanding of dementia through the use of patented sensory tools and instruction. Proceeds from the sale of the Virtual Dementia Tour support the work of Second Wind Dreams, an internationally known nonprofit dedicated to changing the perception of aging through the fulfillment of elders dreams."

“I really want people to understand what is it like for someone that's living with Alzheimer's or dementia. And this will give you just a few moments to sit back and go, Oh, my goodness, I promise you after it, you will have a greater respect and just understanding,” she said.

The event is from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Forest County Community Center in Crandon. It’s free and open to the public.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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