The Emeritus at Oxford seems warm from outside in the biting February air. It is a group celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Oxford-Lafayette Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders support group.
Tears were shed but there was laughter too. The anniversary celebration felt like a family reunion, more so with people sharing their gratitude and memories of the support group through the decades.
Sandra Enfinger, director of Emeritus at Oxford for 11 years, spoke of how wonderful the support group has been for all involved and that she was honored that Emeritus at Oxford was able to be a meeting place for the support group.
Dr. JoAnn Quinn, who has been involved with the support group for decades, then spoke next. She remembered when she was a psychology student one of her professors told her to study Alzheimer’s. She did and the journey led her to facilitate the Oxford-Lafayette Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders support group. The group also helps those with other memory-related illnesses such as dementia.
She then presented an award to Will St. Amand for being with the group for 30 years in his tireless involvement. St. Amand said, “Thirty years ago no one talked about Alzheimer’s. Back then it was seen as a mental illness, a taboo subject. But the support group made it possible for anyone affected by this to find a community.”
“A man can come to this group and say, ‘I think I have a little problem,'” said St. Amand. “And there are heads nodding one by one around the circle. That’s when he’ll realize, ‘I’m not alone.'”
Two members from the support group, Bill and Dianne Arnold founded Memory Makers in 2010. The Memory Makers is a group that provides respite, socialization and counseling along with education and information for those affected by memory loss. The Memory Makers also welcomes volunteers who can be a “Best Friend” to those with memory loss – together they can paint, dance to music and just enjoy each other’s company. The group meets from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. with the group size limited to 12 participants plus volunteers. Its website can be found here with further information on either joining or volunteering with Memory Makers.
The support group came together in these past 30 years and from the anniversary dinner it seems it will continue to last through 30 more years if not longer.
Callie Daniels is a staff reporter for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.