Medical and Behavioral Health Specialists to Present on Dementia and Alzheimer’s

August 30, 2012

Just like the rest of our bodies, our brains change as we age.  Most of us notice some slowed thinking and occasional problems remembering certain things, but serious memory loss, confusion, and other major changes in the way our minds work are not a normal part of aging.  They may be signs that brain cells are failing. 

Senior Health Partners in sponsorship with Bronson Battle Creek and Behavioral Health Resources is pleased to offer a special program on ‘Facing Early Dementia and the Life-Altering Aspects of Alzheimer’s Disease’ at the Burnham Brook Center on Tuesday, September 18, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.  The program will be hosted by Dr. James Gandy, board certified in psychiatry and Dr. Paul Metler, who holds a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.  Information booths along with light snacks will be available from 5-5:30 followed by the formal program.  Seating is limited.  Reservations can be made by calling the class/seminar registration line at (877) 462-2247. 

This program is designed to cover the various aspects of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia including the difference between Alzheimer's and typical age-related changes, and how to recognize the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's. This educational program is provided by a panel of medical and behavioral health professionals from Battle Creek who will address the multi-dimensional facets of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related conditions.  

The brain has 100 billion nerve cells (neurons). Each nerve cell communicates with many others to form networks.  Nerve cell networks have special jobs.  Some are involved in thinking, learning and remembering. Others help us see, hear and smell.  Still others tell our muscles when to move.  In Alzheimer’s disease, as in other types of dementia, increasing numbers of brain cells deteriorate and die disconnecting those networks. 

As many as 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease (more than 180,000 right here in Michigan).  Alzheimer’s destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life. It gets worse over time, and is fatal. It is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.

In the minds of baby boomers, this has been a disease of their grandparents and parents.  Not anymore.  As baby boomers age, the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s is likely to grow to 13.5 million by 2050 and could be as high as 16 million. 

The Alzheimer’s Association has called it the defining disease of the baby boomer generation. With each wave of boomers reaching 65 years of age, one in eight will develop Alzheimer’s.  For those who reach age 85, one in two will be diagnosed.

Although we don’t know how the Alzheimer’s disease process begins, it seems that damage to the brain starts a decade or more before problems become evident. Memory problems are typically one of the first warning signs but not always. Changes in mood, behavior or judgment may also signal the onset of the disease. As the disease progresses it robs people of their memories, their independence their autonomy and inevitably their life.

It is not just the person with Alzheimer’s who suffers though - it is also the caregivers. Most of America’s baby boomers will spend their retirement years either with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone who has it.

Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s can have high physical, emotional and financial costs. Developing good coping skills and a strong support network of family and friends is important for caregivers and so is staying well informed about the disease as new information is available.

This presentation will include what is currently known about the causes, risk factors, diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s as well as what emerging research is discovering. Resources for family caregivers including strategies for caring for yourself, managing difficult behaviors will also be discussed.

The program coincides with the 2012 Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, September 22.  Registration begins at 10 a.m. at the Calhoun County Fair grounds (Marshall).  For more information, call (269) 979-1412, ext 102 or visit sheriis@wwthayne.com.

When you register for the Alzheimer's ‘walk,’ you are joining a nationwide community of thousands of people who are standing up and participating in the fight against this devastating disease.  Your journey to end Alzheimer's starts here.

Senior Health Partners, a community partnership of Bronson Battle Creek, CentraCare, Region 3B Area Agency on Aging, and Summit Pointe, works to expand wellness and educational offerings to senior citizens in Calhoun and surrounding counties.  
                
Bronson Battle Creek is a 218-bed hospital that provides full outpatient and inpatient acute care including robotic surgery, diagnostics, and rehabilitation services; 100% all private rooms.  It also offers world-class diagnostic capabilities including PET/CT imaging, freestanding ‘open’ and traditional MRI, CT (16- and 64-slice), and 3.0 Tesla MRI.  Bronson Battle Creek has been recognized nationally as one of the safest hospitals, and has been a leader in the development of electronic health records as evidenced by multiple honors as one of America’s ‘most wired’ and ‘most wireless’ hospitals. The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons recognizes the Bronson Battle Creek Cancer Care Center as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Program, and the only hospital in Michigan to receive the CoC’s Outstanding Achievement Award three times in a row. Specialty services include the county’s largest accredited sleep center and a wound-healing center with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Behavioral Health Resources is a multi-provider, multi-discipline outpatient mental health service. The staff includes psychiatrists, mid-level providers, registered nurses, certified medical assistants, master-level psychologists, social workers, and licensed professional counselors.  BHR specializes in services for children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. Treatment options include:  assessment and diagnostic testing; individual, family, or group therapy; nursing services; physician services and medication management; and specialized services for older adults.  Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety and panic disorders, depression, grief and loss issues, and mood disorders are just a few of the specialties provided.  BHR has offices in Battle Creek and Albion.

About the Presenters

James Gandy, DO 
Dr. James Gandy is board certified in psychiatry, specializing in geriatric psychiatry.  He is medical director of Summit Pointe and Behavioral Health Resources.  He also is a member of the medical staff at Bronson Battle Creek and is medical director of the BBC Fieldstone Center, which serves both adult and geropsychiatry inpatient disorders.  He received his medical degree from the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences in Iowa, a residency from University of Miami, and a fellowship in geriatric psychiatry from Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago.  Dr. Gandy is chair of BBC ethics committee and frequently presents to the community regarding the subject of mental health issues in older adults.

Paul Metler, PsyD, LP
Dr. Paul Metler holds a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Illinois School of Professional Psychology.  He completed his post-doctoral training at Northwestern University Hospital.  Dr. Metler has extensive experience as a clinical psychologist and is the clinical director of Behavioral Health Resources and Summit Pointe. In addition, he has served as the chief clinical officer of Venture Behavioral Health.  Dr. Metler specializes in psychological testing as well as cognitive therapy and behavioral modification with adolescents, adults, and geriatric patients.  He is a certified ‘life coach’ and member of the Bronson Battle Creek medical staff.  His philosophy of care is that all individuals are naturally creative, resourceful, and capable of healing.


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