While raising money to fight Alzheimer's, professional staff at Sedgebrook and Radford Green Health Care and Rehabilitation of Sedgebrook are also positioning themselves as experts in the disease and other forms of dementia. Alzheimer's affects an estimated 5.2 million Americans and is expected to grow exponentially as the senior population continues to increase. "I learn as much as possible about Alzheimer's so that I can work with our residents and their families. I also provide educational opportunities for Sedgebrook and Radford Green staff throughout the year," said Joanne Kopper, social services coordinator of Sedgebrook.
Located in Lincolnshire, Sedgebrook is a continuing care retirement community. Located on the campus of Sedgebrook, five-star rated Radford Green Health Care and Rehabilitation of Sedgebrook provides memory care assisted living, rehabilitation and skilled nursing. Radford Green earned its certification as a Dementia Unit residence from the Illinois Department of Public Health earlier this year.
Kopper, a resident of Wheeling, who has been at Sedgebrook for two years, has a Master's degree in counseling from Roosevelt University. She has worked with seniors for six years, and said that it's a career for which she has always had a passion. "This is something that I really care about," she said. "I want to help people communicate and work proactively with people with dementia."
Kopper runs two dementia-related support groups at Sedgebrook. The first, which she coordinates with Saba Ahmed, dementia unit coordinator at Radford Green is a new group sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association, open to the general public. Kopper and Ahmed received special training and certification in order to become facilitators.
Kopper also runs a monthly group for residents, which primarily draws spouses of individuals experiencing memory loss. "This is an opportunity for them to talk with each other and know they're not alone. They'll often whisper about cognitive deficits. They feel like they have something to prove to others." The support group gives participants a chance to share, commiserate and receive support. Additionally, it is an important opportunity for Kopper to share information about treatment, medications, non-pharmacological advancements, games and activities for preserving cognition, calming techniques and more. She also invites professionals in the field to offer presentations.
In her drive to help people understand Alzheimer's, Kopper is coordinating an informative presentation on behalf of the Alzheimer's Association Greater Illinois Chapter, for first responders. "We work closely with the Lincolnshire Police Department," she said. "Sedgebrook makes up one-fourth of the entire population of Lincolnshire. There are more than 600 people here over the age of 62." The program is intended to help first responders understand how to interact with people with dementia in order to be helpful and effective.
Because of their commitment to fighting Alzheimer's disease, staff from Sedgebrook and Radford Green of Sedgebrook, participated in the 2013 North Shore Walk to End Alzheimer's. The community has held weekly fundraisers leading up to the event in order to reach their goal of a $5000 donation. "This will benefit a great cause," said Kopper. "It is up to all of us to help end this disease and find a cure"
Sedgebrook is a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) offering a diverse lifestyle, maintenance-free living and outstanding amenities. Five-star rated Radford Green Health Care and Rehabilitation is located on the 92-acre Sedgebrook campus in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Sedgebrook is owned by Senior Care Development LLC and managed by Life Care Services LLC. For additional information visitwww.welcometosedgebrook.com or call 847-901-3319.