Bethany Village hosts innovative program: Reducing Disability in Alzheimer’s Disease

RDAD at Bethany

Kathleen Feisley of the Miami Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association leads participants through an exercise at Bethany Village. (Far left) Judy Budi, Vice-President, Residential Care for Graceworks Lutheran Services, encourages participants.

Graceworks at Home and Bethany Village retirement community are working with the Alzheimer’s Association to help persons with memory challenges on an innovative program called Reducing Disability in Alzheimer’s Disease (RDAD). You, or a family member or friend with memory challenges, are welcome to participate (enrollment information below).

“We did this exercise together at home last night,” said one spouse, during a recent session at Bethany Village retirement community in Centerville. “It’s fun!”

Through simple exercises and interactive games, the program tries to help persons with memory challenges to improve their overall health and to help their care partners to assist them. The program also teaches family members about symptoms to watch for and how to care for persons with memory problems. This program hopes to improve the ability of the person to carry out activities of daily living while also helping family members provide assistance to their relative.

The Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter is leading a group hosted by the Bethany Village retirement community in Centerville. Some of the participants are residents of Bethany Village or clients of Graceworks at Home, but registration is open to persons with memory challenges and their families throughout the Miami Valley.

“The simple exercises that are taught in the sessions, make a big difference in the functioning of the individual,” said Jane Eckels, Alzheimer’s Association clinical services director.  “The exercises, then, make it easier to do every day tasks, allowing people to maintain their skills.”

“Already, in just five sessions of the program, we have seen changes in the functioning, socialization and problem solving skills of those attending,” Eckels said. ”  We are able to have fun with brain teasers and then later discuss symptoms of the diagnosis and offer methods for addressing those issues.”

Spouses said the program is helping them and their loved ones with Alzheimer’s Disease or other memory-related challenges.

“I’m learning coping techniques that help life to go more smoothly for us,” said one spouse, during a recent session.

“It gives him something to look forward to when he gets up in the morning,” said another.

Alzheimer’s Association chapters in Ohio have joined with the Ohio Department of Aging and the Benjamin Rose Institute to implement the program. Initial research was led by Dr. Linda Teri, University of Seattle, Washington. This program is being supported by a grant from the Administration on Aging.

Program goals are:

  • Teach simple exercises to maintain independence and well being
  • Increase knowledge about dementia
  • Keep family members involved in better assisting loved one
  • Enhance problem solving skills

You, a family member or friend can call the Alzheimer’s Association to learn more about RDAD and how to enroll a participant in the program. Contact the 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900 for more information.