'Aging and Driving' workshop is July 24

By Rachel Robles, Lifestyles editor | Jul 16, 2014
Photo by: Donated Dr. Lisa Verges

MemoryCare will offer a special free workshop called “Driving and Aging — When is it time to stop?,” from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday, July 24, at the Senior Resource Center, located at 81 Elmwood Way, Waynesville.

The presentation will be given by MemoryCare physician Dr. Lisa Verges, and will include a performance from “The MemoryCare Plays.”

MemoryCare is an independent, charitable organization, was established in response to the clear need for a program that could provide both expert medical care to older adults with cognitive impairment, and support and educate their families and caregivers. MemoryCare also strives to educate the public about aging and dementia. Based in Asheville with a satellite office in Waynesville, MemoryCare is a nonprofit organization that is responsible for raising 50 percent of its budget every year.

“We are the only organization in Western North Carolina that incorporates treatment of an individual with memory loss with the education and support of their caregivers,” said Chad Conaty, director of development for MemoryCare. “We are a charity because the time and expertise we provide caregivers is not reimbursed by Medicare or insurance and we provide services to all families in need irrespective of their ability to pay.”

Other services offered by MemoryCare include:

— Providing an accurate diagnosis through cognitive testing and extensive physical examination

— Disease planning; respite and in home care options, long term care planning, prompting to address necessary financial/legal issues and safety issues unique to the disease

— Behavioral management,

— Caregiver training, counseling and support; coordination of services provided by other agencies,

— Prescriptions for disease-related medications,

— Help filing for assistance for low-income families,

MemoryCare also offers free workshops on various topics.

“Our workshops are very important in order to reach a wider audience about this devastating disease (Alzheimer’s), the impact it has on the individual with memory loss and their caregivers,” said Conaty. “The more we can educate caregivers, the better equipped they can be to keep their loved one in the home setting as long as safely possible.”

Conaty believes the upcoming driving workshop will be especially beneficial.

“Driving can be a safety and public health issue, especially for individuals with memory impairment,” said Conaty. “This workshop will discuss and try to answer some of the challenges and sensitivity with adults, and adults with dementia, and driving.”

“Aging and Driving” will be led by Verges, a board-certified geriatric psychiatrist with a keen interest in the spiritual aspects of aging. She is also team leader of MemoryCare’s satellite clinic in Waynesville and works in the Asheville office as well.

The workshop will include a staged performance from “The MemoryCare Plays,” a recently published book of three plays that has won international awards. The plays strive to dramatize the full impact of progressive memory disorders upon the individual, and to illustrate the richness and complexity of the caregiving relationship, with all of its challenges and rewards.

The workshop is free and open to the public, but registration is requested. Call 771-2219 for information or to register.