by Nicole Brodzik
Mental Health Awareness month kicks off this week and one Mound business is reaching out to individuals and families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.
Lake Minnetonka Home Care and Senior Advising has been opening its doors the third Monday of each month as a places for people to talk and learn about the struggles of dealing with the disease.
The memory cafe, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., consists of a short educational segment on Alzheimer’s and then discussion over coffee and snacks.
Owner Shelley Anderson has had experience dealing with Alzheimer’s disease in her own family and said it has been a passion of hers to help those in need.
“I went to college for social work back in the 1980’s,” Anderson said. “I was out of the field for a while, but recently went back for a home care sort of boot camp and applied for my home care license, which came through in January. We’ve been here since February and I just feel so blessed.”
Her studio is off of Cypress Lane in Mound and was designed to be more of an open meeting space than an office building or clinical set up. Anderson has couches and pillows set up, as well as a fridge full of beverages for guests and clients to enjoy while they meet with her.
She said she hopes to be there to help families through Alzheimer’s diagnoses, along with other issues people face as they enter old age.
“I want people to come in a feel comfortable venting about what’s going on with mom or dad,” Anderson said. “I want to be able to tour senior living facilities for them and say, hey, here’s what options we have, let’s see what fits your price range and is going to work best for your family.”
She said she hopes the memory cafe can help families feel more comfortable talking about Alzheimer’s disease. Anderson herself is an educator for the Alzheimer’s Association and said she hopes she can help families work through the transitions.
“Memory care is my big passion,” Anderson said. “I feel like I am different from a lot of home care advising places because I have the social work piece and I’ve been through this myself.”
Anderson said she didn’t have anything like this when her own mother-in-law was diagnosed with the disease and said she knows how alone caregivers and patients can feel after the diagnosis. She said recently she’s been going to trainings and other support groups to help her create the right environment for people at the memory cafe in her studio.
“I just want an open discussion and to have a place where caregivers and people with beginning memory loss can come and just share,” Anderson said. “Everything is confidential. I don’t want them to feel so alone.”
She also encourages people who come to the cafes, and anyone who is dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, or generally with senior care, to contact her for help in finding the best treatment and facilities for their family. Anderson said she does assessments with families both in person and over the phone.
“My main goal is just to help families with education about senior care,” Anderson said. “There are so many options. There are so many things people don’t know. It’s all evolving and changing. That’s my goal is just to be here to educate families about the options.”
For more information on Lake Minnetonka Home Care and Senior Advising, visit https://lakeminnetonkahomecare.com/ or contact Anderson at 952-607-5517.