Library to host dementia overview

By Beanie Taylor -

On Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., the Elkin Public Library will host a series of free lectures about the unique mental health needs associated with aging thanks to government funding and the coordination of Vaya Health and the Alleghany Council on Aging.

These lectures will last only one hour and Division of Health Service Regulation-approved continuing education credit is available, however they are open to anyone who interacts with the older than 60 population.

Which is everyone, according to Vaya’s Geriatric and Adult Mental Health Specialty Team member Debra Rochelle. “Everyone will have contact with someone with dementia,” claimed Rochelle. “It doesn’t have to be a family member, caregiver or police officer. It could be someone at church,” or other activities in which people often participate.

The first session which will cover recognizing signs, symptoms and risk factors as well as a review of the four most frequent types of dementia is a general overview of the disease. “It’s an hour long, but that’s not nearly enough time,” stated Rochelle. “We pack in as much information as we can and hope it will trigger people to want to learn more.”

According to Rachel Leonard-Spencer, marketing and communications coordinator for Vaya Health, the dementia overview session is “very comprehensive” and includes communication techniques. “We help people learn how to interact with people with dementia,” explained Rochelle. “They can exhibit challenging behaviors.”

To register for this and other sessions, call 800-893-6246 ext. 3342 or email

Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.

By Beanie Taylor

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