In the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease, families face new questions as they adjust. What does the diagnosis mean? What kinds of plans need to be made? What resources are available to help? 

To address these issues, the Alzheimer’s Association in partnership with the Santa Maria Recreation & Parks department will provide free three-part educational workshop. 

Part 1 of the Living with Alzheimer’s series will take place Tuesday, Feb. 18, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Elwin Mussell Senior Center, 510 Park Ave in Santa Maria. Call 1-800-272-3900 to register in advance. Seating is limited.

Topics to be discussed during the workshops include: 

Part 1 (Feb. 18) — understanding the disease, symptoms, communication and intimacy

Part 2 (March 17) — approaches to treatment, health care team, family and friends

Part 3 (April 21) — care planning, financial and legal matters, safety issues and driving

Participants in the workshops will hear practical answers to the questions that arise in the early stage, and hear from those directly affected and learn what they can do to cope with the changes that come with an early-stage diagnosis.

More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. In 2016, caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias provided an estimated 18.2 billion hours of unpaid assistance, a contribution to the nation valued at $230.1 billion. The care provided to people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is wide-ranging and, in some instances, all-encompassing. Caregivers for people with dementia tend to provide more extensive assistance and experience more difficulty than caregivers of individuals without dementia. 

The Alzheimer’s Association is the premier source of information and support for the five million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease. Through its national network of chapters, it offers a broad range of programs and services for people with the disease, their families and caregivers and represents their interests on Alzheimer’s-related issues before federal, state and local government and with health and long term care providers. 

To find out about other dates and locations for classes in your area, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 805-636-6432.