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wellington | gives (Left) Alzheimer’s Community Care President and CEO Mary Barnes. (Right) Barnes with administrative assistant Ginny Pruitt.

pull any punches. She said that an unusually high fever spike was the final warning sign and, if nature was allowed to take its course, his uncle would pass away shortly thereafter. Two weeks later, the elder Baxter died. “He appreciated that information so much,” Barnes said. “He was able to prepare his aunt for the inevitable and not feel guilty himself.” Later, Baxter sat down with Barnes to discuss the need for an organization that can help families at every stage of the disease process, catering to the needs of patients and their families so that they can understand their responsibilities and know that they’re not suffering alone. With that discussion, Alzheimer’s Community Care was born. That was back in 1996. Today, Alzheimer’s Community Care provides relief for Alzheimer’s patients, caregivers and families throughout Palm Beach, Martin and Saint Lucie counties. There are offices, some with a daycare component, in Pahokee, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Stuart and Fort Pierce. In some places, daycare programs are offered at host facilities, such as the one that opened just recently at St. Michael Lutheran Church in Wellington.

With Wellington resident Kris Riedell as chief operating officer, Alzheimer’s Community Care serves an ever-fluctuating 2,000 patients plus 2,000 caregivers, and helps thousands more through its informative web site. In addition, 6,000 people nationwide receive a quarterly newsletter. Patients are recommended from physician referrals, sister agencies and other nonprofits. To keep things rolling, Alzheimer’s Community Care depends upon financing from individuals, foundations, grants, Palm Beach County, the State of Florida and the United Way. There are several fundraisers each year, and there is also a nominal fee for patient daycare. Although Alzheimer’s Community Care currently has about 200 volunteers, more are always needed and serve in a variety of ways, from working at the daycare centers to helping with fundraisers and special events. Volunteers also help out in support groups, at health fairs and through a speakers bureau. “We’ll bring a doctor or

lawyer, plus myself or one of the vice presidents, and field questions on this sensitive topic, but not in front of a large crowd,” Barnes explained. “We limit the group to around 25, no more. It gives people the freedom to ask questions without having a lot of strangers around.” The Caregiver Connection also needs volunteers. This extremely successful program dispenses locator bracelets to patients who are prone to wandering and educates caregivers about the bracelets’ use. Like a watch, the locator is worn on the arm and has a radio frequency that helps find a wanderer within minutes instead of hours. “This program has been very, very successful,” Barnes said. “We have 90 patients with bracelets in the community right now. Volunteers are needed to change batteries, educate caregivers about when to call police, make appointments, document the visits and more. The Caregiver Connection also keeps in touch with all our caregivers. Some of them are more medically ill than our patients. We’ll call them once a week or, if they request it, once a day. We also run a crisis line 24/7 because a crisis never happens at a convenient time.” wellington the magazine | november 2015

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Profile for Wellington The Magazine LLC

Wellington The Magazine November 2015  

November 2015 | ON THE COVER Laura Graves riding Verdades to victory at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Photo by Susan J. Stickle | T...

Wellington The Magazine November 2015  

November 2015 | ON THE COVER Laura Graves riding Verdades to victory at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Photo by Susan J. Stickle | T...