Alzheimer's support group coming to area

Published 10:41 pm Monday, February 3, 2003

By By Paul Keane
On Thursday at 12 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church will present a program by Betty Ammons, a volunteer from Alzheimers Family Services, Inc., in Pensacola, Fla. Ammons' presentation is open to the entire community and will launch an Atmore Alzheimers' Support Group, sponsored by the Women of Trinity.
According to Laura Glaze Ralston, Executive Director of the Pensacola based group that Ammons represents, Ammons' knowledge and experience came first hand-as a caregiver for her mother who eventually died of Alzheimers. Ralston continued, "As the disease overtook her mother's personality for the last 8-10 years of her life, Betty made it her business to learn about the progression of the disease as well as emotions such as denial, anger, and frustration.
Since her mother's death, Ammons has volunteered her time with Alzheimers Family Services. She faithfully works four hours every Monday in the AFS office. She devotes the second week of each month to support groups for which she facilitates in Century, Defuniak Springs, Gulf Breeze and Pensacola, Florida.
Betty studies the disease constantly in order to provide her support groups the most complete information. Non-profit organizations are not new to Ammons as she retired from Girl Scouts as Adult Development Director. She is very involved in her church, Gasden United Methodist in Pensacola. She loves people and you never find her without a smile and an upbeat, positive attitude."
Alzheimers is also a personal issue for Atmore resident and Trinity communicant Vicki Day Faessel whose mother developed Alzheimers about two years ago. Though her mother, Luverne Day, recently moved to Homestead Village in Pensacola, Faessel knows first-hand of the need for a local support group. Faessel has said, "Alzheimer's is a very little understood disease. We especially hope to inform people that caregivers are as in need of support as those they care for."
The Reverend Sandra Mayer, Trinity Episcopal Church's priest-in-charge, says of the upcoming seminar. "Our church is delighted to host this important gathering. Alzheimer's is a horrible disease, and is especially hard on the caregiver. We hope that anyone who can benefit from this presentation about Alzheimer's will plan to attend and become involved."
If you know of anyone who is an Alzheimer's caregiver or just wants to learn more about the progressive disease, please remind them that are welcome at the February 6 program. Trinity Episcopal Church is located at the corner of Carney and Church Street, behind Bondurant's Hardware.
Anyone wishing to bring a brown bag lunch to the noon meeting is welcome. The Women of Trinity will provide beverages. For further information about Alzheimer's see the Family Services website at:
(Atmore native Bonnie Bartel Latino is a "Cradle Episcopalian" and a freelance writer who is a columnist for "atmore" magazine.)

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