Alzheimer's: Local family finds hope in coping at South Bend facility

SOUTH BEND More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's, the most common form of Dementia. The debilitating disease is the most costly to care for in the U.S. and it affects mostly women and seniors. The disease is progressive and causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior.

Jeanne Pietrzak was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia in 2011. After her symptoms worsened over time, her daughter, Karen, moved in as her primary caretaker in November of 2013.

"Our family has a strong history of Dementia," said Karen. "It was devastating. Our mom did everything for us. She's an incredible woman in so many ways."

Karen has dedicated her life to her mother, but she knew she needed help. That came in the form of an adult daycare facility, recommended by a family friend.

"I can't tell you how happy we are here and what a difference it's made in our life, in her life," said Karen.

"By the time we get out to the car, she can't tell me what she's done here, but she's happy here. And she looks forward to coming."

Milton Adult Day Services is focused on providing a structured setting for adults who need health, social, and support services during the day.

"We believe in the idea of engagement, of the mind and the body to help them be the best they can be," said Nina Plotkin, the Director at Milton.

Jeanne uses Milton twice a week. Her favorite thing to do is woodworking. And while she may not be able to remember exactly what she did by the end of the day, her daughter, Karen, knows she's happy staying busy and social.

"We're all social creatures and she's always been social," said Karen.

"My mom is different now, different than the woman we grew up with. But in a lot of ways she's still the same. She's a very loving, funny, giving human being and she continues to be that way."

Milton is a pay for service facililty. A walk on Saturday aims to help offset those costs to area families.

The 26th annual St. Joseph County Walk is Saturday at Newton Park in Lakeville. Registration is at 8:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 9:30 a.m. click here to learn more.

For more information about Milton Adult Day Services, click here.

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