‘Nowadays Americans are living longer,” says Zeke.
“That’s good,” says Zack.
“No that’s bad,” says Zeke, “Now we’re living long enough to get Alzheimer’s.”
That’s not a joke from the old “Hee Haw” TV show. It’s today’s sad truth.
One in every eight Americans 65 or older has Alzheimer’s disease or similar dementias. And for folks older than 85 it’s almost one out of two. One such 85-year-old is Dorothy, who now lives in Templeton. Her daughter, Roxanne, asked me to use first names.
Dorothy retired in the early 1990s as the head of the family freight company. Now she can no longer completely dress herself or prepare meals.
Roxanne used to leave prepared meals in Dorothy’s refrigerator, but she ignored them. She also didn’t notice when she lost her purse. Also, she would wander in a cemetery. Now Roxanne lives with her.
Roxanne was a vice president of the family business. At age 40 she became a classically trained chef doing personal chef work in Southern California for such events as weddings and pre-Oscar parties.
Here’s another statistic: 10.9 million Americans are unpaid caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Most are relatives; some are just friends.
The Alzheimer’s Association says many caregivers endure “high levels of emotional stress and depression,” often impairing their health, jobs and incomes.
Fortunately Roxanne found help at Adult Day Services in Templeton. It’s this county’s only nonprofit adult day care center. It’s licensed by the state and supported by federal and local grants and by fundraisers and public donations.
It also accepts donations from its clients’ families. It has a schedule of suggested donations, which says, “Our services are provided regardless of ability or willingness to make a donation.”
It’s open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Roxanne takes Dorothy there about three days a week. Dorothy calls it “the gym.”
It has exercise sessions, singing, dancing and games. It also has morning and afternoon snacks, and serves hot lunches from the Paso Robles High School Culinary Arts Academy. For information, call 434-2081.
To donate, send checks to Adult Day Services, 690 Petersen Ranch Rd., Templeton, CA 93465.
Or you could dine at Chili’s restaurant, 2001 Theatre Drive, Paso Robles, Monday Sept. 13, from 4 to 9 p.m.
Adult Day Services will get 15 percent if you have the necessary coupon. Coupons are available at the center or at the Paso Robles Senior Center on Scott Street.
Reach Phil Dirkx at 238-2372 or firstname.lastname@example.org.