Livingstone College’s Interfaith America Ambassadors partnered with the Christian Education Department of New Hope A.M.E. Zion Church to host an Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Workshop on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, from 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in the Aymer Center at Hood Theological Seminary. Attendees were greeted with festive welcome bags that included sanitation supplies, themed Alzheimer’s steel pin ribbons, and literature. Janet Heilig of New Hope officially welcomed attendees while Dr. Da’Tarvia Parrish of Livingstone College provided an interactive breathing meditation, highlighting “over six million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia that deprives people of their precious memories, thoughts, and identity.” Senior Livingstone student Joacquin Gonzalez offered the occasion, noting Alzheimer’s remains a leading cause of death in older adults, and African Americans and Latinos are more likely to develop dementia than any other races or ethnicities.
Vivian Norman of New Hope introduced the workshop presenter, Alexandra H. Abbott, Program Manager at the Alzheimer’s Association Western Carolina Chapter. Abbott engaged audience members with informal surveys, facts, and ways to understand Alzheimer’s and research progress in the field. When asked about providing care for loved ones who may experience various levels of frustration, Abbott stated, “Live in their world. If someone believes they are wearing a blue shirt and a red hat, tell them they are wearing a blue shirt and a red hat.” To provide visual imagery, Abbott explained, “Imagine there is a chalkboard with all of your memories, and each day, someone erases a piece of the board.” Abbott recommended early screenings for persons who want to get tested and community support groups for individuals tending to loved ones with the disease.
Livingstone College students Kamyle Lewis and Nia Williams led attendees in an Alzheimer’s Litany that echoed the sentiments memories matter. Dr. Parrish welcomed the President of Hood Theological Seminary, Rev. Dr. Vergel Lattimore, to provide closing remarks, and audience member Rev. Kay Boyd led the attendees in the Wesleyan Grace for a delectable lunch catered by Carl Brown of Chef’s Solutions.
Rev. Thomas Grinter, pastor of New Hope, stated, “This program is relevant not only for our churches but for the broader community. As we strive to secure our future, we must serve and support the elderly population who have been so essential for our continued survival and collective success.”
The Livingstone College students who were a part of the program are currently enrolled in Da’Tarvia Parrish’s Religion and Literature course. Students partnered with Valerie Gaither, Sarah Lightner, and Vivian Norman of New Hope A.M.E. Zion Church for planning, whereas the event was financially supported by Interfaith America, Hood Theological Seminary, and John and Mary Taylor Fund.
For more information, contact the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900 | alz.org) or find support groups at (alz.org/CRF). You may also join an online community at (alz.org/alzconnected).
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