Local organization offers programs for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s, support for the caregivers

Memory Lane has been a lifeline to a number of local families since 2016.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 6:36 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2023 at 6:37 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Alzheimer’s Association reports there are more than six million Americans living with Alzheimer’s right now. By 2050, that number is expected to jump to 13 million. There are also millions of people caring for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

Memory Lane is a true lifeline for caregivers in our community. There is an adult day center for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia as well as support services like counseling for the caregivers.

Bernadine Powell and her husband, Jim, have been married for 61 years. About seven years ago, she started noticing changes in his memory.

“It’s been a very difficult transition,” Bernadine said.

After years of going through the changes brought about by dementia, Bernadine didn’t realize just how much she needed some time to herself.

“I didn’t think I was a caregiver, but now I know I am. I do everything for him. My day is not my own.”

As part of the supportive services at Memory Lane, Bernadine started speaking with a coach who helped answer questions and shared ideas. Nearly two years later, she started bringing Jim to the adult day center. She hesitated at first because she wasn’t sure he’d like it.

“Every now and then when I drop him off he’ll look back and say ‘are you coming?’ Then someone will say something to him and the next thing I know he goes through the door like Alice in Wonderland. He seems to love it.”

Bernadine gets much-needed time to herself every week.

“I can go to the grocery by myself, work on a special project or get my hair cut -- things I couldn’t do before now. I didn’t know I needed that. I don’t feel so overwhelmed. There were times where I felt absolutely overwhelmed, thinking, ‘how can I do this?’”

Salli Bollin is the executive director of Memory Lane.

“For every person diagnosed with dementia there are 3 or 4 people impacted on a daily basis because they are helping their loved one through the journey,” Salli said.

Salli says the programs include exercise and socialization activities for the patients and peace of mind for the caregivers.

“About half the people who come to the center, their caregivers are still working, so the center allows people to keep going to work knowing their family member is cared for, having a good time and they’re safe, too.”

Bernadine has a simple piece of advice to other caregivers.

“Don’t hold off. Start coming here as soon as you can. You won’t regret it. The only thing I regret is not starting earlier,” Bernadine said.

Memory Lane is open Monday through Friday. Caregivers can bring their loved ones as little or as often as they’d like. They don’t have to have an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis, it can also be an adult who can’t be home alone. The center works to make sure cost is not a barrier. Thanks to funding from the Area Office on Aging and the Monroe County Commission on Aging, you pay based on a sliding scale. To learn more, click here.

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