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The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) has awarded a $5,000 grant to Peachtree Christian Health (PCH), in Duluth to help fund a new, dementia-friendly “Open Neighborhood” Program for caregivers and their loved ones. The program, offered at PCH’s new Life Enrichment Center, provides a safe, engaging place for support, activities and socialization. 


Christi Heidt, Program Director for Peachtree Christian Health, said “It is a privilege to work with our community to offer our ‘Open Neighborhood’ program as a safe place for caregivers to enjoy time with their loved ones participating in mind, body, and spirit activities. We hope this program facilitates the beginning of a movement within our community to improve how we all work together to better support our caregivers and their families.” 


“Community-based programs which provide support and education to families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease are critically important as the prevalence of Alzheimer’s continues to grow,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president and chief executive officer.  “We are proud to support Peachtree Christian Health in delivering much needed services to families affected by Alzheimer’s disease in the Atlanta metro-area.”   


Peachtree Christian Health is a nonprofit organization that provides adult day and community programs designed to enrich lives and support families throughout their caregiving journeys.  The organization cares for individuals and their families, regardless of their ability to pay, by providing therapeutic activities and educational programs. Art and exercise classes, entertainment programs, community exhibits, and a caregiver café are among the additional services the organization plans on adding. 


AFA’s funding will enable PCH to serve more families and support this new community program.  “Open Neighborhood” officially launched May 7th. The program includes activities and services such as exercise, art, horticultural, and pet therapy as part of their wider adult day services program. The adult day services program provides caregiver support, clinical and personal care, education, and physical, occupational and speech therapy.  The AFA grant specifically supports Open Neighborhood programming for individuals with dementia and their care partners. Families coping with other care needs outside of Alzheimer’s may also participate as space allows. Open Neighborhood is held weekly on Tuesdays from 10 am–1 pm.


In an effort to help the community become more dementia-friendly, PCH also offers a free Virtual Dementia Tour® made possible thanks to a generous donation from Duluth-based Suzanna’s Kitchen. This special dementia awareness training allows caregivers to experience via virtual reality what it is like to live with dementia. During the Virtual Dementia Tour®, trained facilitators guide participants outfitted with patented devices that alter their senses while they try to complete common everyday tasks and exercises. The tour enables caregivers to better understand the physical and mental challenges those with dementia face, and use the experience to provide better person-centered care for their loved ones. Virtual Dementia Tours® are offered monthly, typically on the 3rdThursday, and last 30-45 minutes.


If your family is living with dementia or struggling with caregiving needs, please reach out to learn more about these exciting new programs at www.pchlec.org or call 678-374-1284.  Open enrollment for all PCH adult day services begins online Monday, May 13, 2019.


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