This month the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Wisconsin Chapter will launch a new program for people with mild cognitive impairment, or early-stage dementia. The Early-Stage Social Engagement Program offers a fun and comfortable way for people living in the early stages of the disease to build a social network and connect with like individuals in their own community through meaningful social activities. Participants will meet at various times and locations from June through September in areas surrounding Eau Claire, Marshfield and Wausau. There is no charge to participate.
“Individuals diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer's disease or other dementia may experience changes in their behavior, cognition, daily routines or relationships that can often result in isolation, depression and lack of connection with those around them,” said Amy Chick, Alzheimer’s Association Greater Wisconsin Outreach Specialist.
ESSEP is funded in part by the Alzheimer’s Association National Office in an effort to evaluate how social and intellectual activity enhances quality of life and social connectedness for people with early stage dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association Greater Wisconsin Chapter received funding from the National Office to participate in this new exciting pilot program. “This program offers a tremendous opportunity for those diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s to build a solid social network with others facing similar journeys,” said Chick.
The program will begin with a brainstorming session in which participants will make known their individual needs and interests. Alzheimer’s Association staff will then organize activities to promote social interaction and companionship based on the interests of the group. Examples of social engagement activities include, but are not limited to: photography, walking, coffee shop, museum and bowling.
The group will meet at minimum three times a month at various locations in or near Eau Claire, Marshfield and Wausau. Dates, times and locations are yet to be determined.
Meetings are meant to be fun, social and entertaining and will last between one and a half to two hours. The meetings do not include care partners, who are encouraged to use the time to do something for themselves or to spend with other care partners.
Qualifications for individuals to participate in ESSEP include the following: have a diagnosis of early-stage dementia or mild cognitive impairment; able to express oneself in conversation; do not require supervision from care partners; and have an interest in meeting and socializing with others with memory loss.
For more information contact Outreach Specialist Amy Chick at 715.845.7440.