COUNCIL BLUFFS – The Alzheimer’s Association will offer a free class on signs of dementia at multiple times and places to help area families.

The Alzheimer’s Association “Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters” workshops provide attendees with information about the difference between normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease, the benefits of early detection and tips for people who may be concerned about themselves or a loved one.

An early diagnosis allows people to take steps that could prolong their lives, said Marsha Williams, program and event coordinator at the Alzheimer’s Association’s Greater Iowa Chapter.

“It gives them a chance to begin a drug therapy or join a clinical trial,” she said.

It could also give patients and families an opportunity to prepare for the eventual progression of the disease, Williams said.

“Early detection gives you a chance to plan ahead,” she said.

That might include taking care of financial matters or designating one or more people to have power of attorney over your affairs, Williams said.

“It’s good to be able to put them in place while you’re still of sound mind so someone else doesn’t have to do it for you,” she said.

However, the first professional to talk to about your concerns is your primary physician, Williams said.

Current data suggest that, because of the increasing number of people age 65 and older in the United States, the number of new cases of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia diagnosed annually is projected to double by the year 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

“Here in Iowa, we have the third highest Alzheimer’s death rate in America,” Williams said.

“Those that attend these workshops learn that, if they receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another dementia, there are things families can do together to plan for the future and work toward receiving the best help and care possible.”

Class sessions:

• Feb. 18 – 2-3 p.m., Fox Run Assisted Living, 3121 MacIneery Drive, Council Bluffs

• Feb. 22 – 6-7 p.m., The Center, 714 S. Main St., Council Bluffs

• Feb. 29 – 5:30-6:30 p.m., Mills County Training Center, Glenwood, Iowa

• March 9 – Noon-1 p.m., Griswold Rehab and Healthcare Center, Griswold, Iowa

For more information, visit alz.org/greateriowa or contact Williams at mawilliams@alz.org or (712) 322-8840, ext. 8260.

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