Stephanie Brown, Caregiver Specialist of Vance County opened the Thursday evening Candlelight Reflections program at Vance County Senior Center on November 8 to honor the memory of those who have died of Alzheimer’s and the families who are currently caring for Alzheimer’s and disabled patients.
Melissa Jones, Family Caregiver Specialist with the Kerr Tar COG Area Agency on Aging, introduced herself to the attendees. The Alzheimer’s Association and Family Caregiver Program are in partnership to provide support and advocacy for caregivers of dementia patients, or of other disabled adults over the age of 60. She said that the ‘career’ of most caregivers averaged 8 years, with some giving 20 or more years of care.
Jones further stated that families provide 80% of all long-term care and that by delaying nursing home placement $1 Billion dollars is saved by Medicare and Medicaid.
Antoinette Allen-Pearson, counselor, explained services available to disabled citizens through the Independent Living Program. Upon qualifying, a patient’s bathroom, kitchen, home entrances and other adaptations are made to enable greater self sufficiency.
Mayor Donald Seifert, Jr. read proclamations by the Governor declaring November Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month and Family Caregivers Month.
Reverend Jimmy Johnson began the candle lighting with prayer and Senior Center Director, Kelly Foti, explained the purpose of the Candlelight Reflection before asking the attendees to light their candles. Each person was asked to remember those lost to Alzheimer’s and those who cared for them.
Following the reflection time, James Terry sang “Because He Lives”, encouraging the attendees to sing the chorus with him.
Lois Williams, Vance County AARP President, then read the poem, “Remember Me” by J. Al-Hafez. Toni Richardson, Child and Family Facilitator, read an essay by an unknown author called, “I am the Person” to wrap up the Remarks period.
Mrs. Kizzie Brown was named the Caregiver of the Year, receiving flowers from Stephanie Brown.