Jolene Ferguson to offer special program on dealing with dementia

Families are often at a loss at how to deal with the problems of aging loved ones who suffer from progressive dementia.

But Jolene Ferguson will try to answer their questions with two sessions at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center on May 15 and 22.FERGUSON

Ferguson is the director of assisted living at Spring Ridge at Charbonneau, and Nancy Raske of Northwest Senior Resources calls her one of the most exceptional speakers and trainers in the field of dementia knowledge and communication skills.

Over the past year Ferguson has presented a unique way to increase better understanding of a loved one facing aging and dementia with the “Virtual Sensation Experience” — an experience that puts people right in the shoes of the loved one.

“With this program others can experience the visual, hearing, pain, dexterity and confusion problems faced by their loved ones as they grow older,” Ferguson said. “It is a window in the world of aging and dementia.”

To create the experience, Ferguson will ask those attending to put on yellow goggles which take away peripheral vision, headsets that distorts sounds and voices, inserts in shoes that cause pain in the feet, and tape around their fingers.

All of the while people will be talking, which will make communication even more difficult. That is the world of an aging person who is starting to get dementia.

“It shows what a devastating process aging is,” Ferguson said.

This is the second year for the program.

“The first year was fantastic,” Ferguson said. “People left crying from the realization of what aging is all about. It was so awakening.

“It’s one thing to talk about aging and dementia. It’s another thing to experience it.”

At her second presentation, Ferguson will help children of aging parents prepare for what will surely happen, such as loss of driving skills.

“It’s important for families to know about these things,” Ferguson said.

“You will leave the sessions with hope and some special information on how to have better coping skills during the long journey,” Raske said. “Jolene has very creative tips and humorous stories to share with families on how to deal with this illness and reduce their stress levels at the same time.”

These two workshops will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on both evenings. Those planning to attend must reserve their place by calling Berta Derman, ACC programming director, at 503-635-3758. Refreshments will be served at the workshops.

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