The Alzheimer’s Association, South Carolina Chapter, announced Thursday afternoon it will establish officer hours in Union County.
The Spartanburg Area Office is partnering with the Union County YMCA in downtown Union to bring programs and services to the county. Program Director Joyce Finkle will be available the fourth Friday of each month beginning Feb. 26 to assist families and professionals interested in learning more about Alzheimer’s and how the association can help through a variety of programs and services.
Finkle will provide information about the disease and other dementias and offer referral resources for available programs and organizations. She also will offer care consultation about caregiver situations and information about a $500 respite grant for families caring for a person with dementia who is in the home to pay for in-home care, adult day care or short-term facility care.
Other services will include the MedicAlert+SafeReturn wanderer’s identification program information and enrollment, support groups — the Union County group currently is on hiatus and being evaluated for ways to strengthen participation — and advocacy programs.
Finkle said the association finds it can assist families easier and better when its staff gets to know them and build rapport.
“Having a chance to come in and have questions and concerns addressed in person should help us build our relationships in the community and learn what the residents are looking for in programs and services,” she said.
Finkle hopes to be able to also offer an Alzheimer’s educational seminar in 2010, perhaps in collaboration with other agencies serving Union County.
She started looking at the possibility of opening up office hours in Union County in October and almost immediately learned of a grant opportunity for technology purchases for nonprofit organizations serving Union and Cherokee counties — the Timken Foundation through United Way of the Piedmont.
“Receiving the grant allowed us to purchase a laptop and other supplies necessary for satellite office hours,” Finkle said.
So she contacted the United Way of the Piedmont for suggestions of agencies in Union County that might be interested in collaboration and who had the space available one day a month.
“They gave me two possibilities,” Finkle said. “Both agencies were prompt and gracious in offering the space. I chose the Y because of the potential of meeting and speaking to diverse groups of people and increasing outreach in the community.”
Whatever the circumstances behind how the office hours became available in Union County, the services Finkle will offer hopefully will help everyone dealing with Alzheimer’s and other dementias find the information they need.
“We will be able to communicate information in a more timely fashion about Alzheimer’s research and treatment and about the importance of maintaining brain health,” Finkle said. “By providing information for those dealing with Alzheimer’s, as well as programs and services, we hope to help reduce their stress and some of the burden of caregiving, allowing them to take better care of themselves and be healthier members of the community.”
She said the South Carolina chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association has always served Union County since its inception in 1987. The new office hours are a way to show the community how committed it is to serving its residents.
“We want Union County to know we’re committed to do more to serve its citizens,” Finkle said. “And we welcome their input and interest in volunteer opportunities.”