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SunPorch of Dodge City Raises Funds for Alzheimer’s Programs, Research

September 2019 • Contact: Debbie Allen, 620-227-7512 •

Since SunPorch of Dodge City staff members see first-hand the effects of Alzheimer’s disease every day, they are participating in a nationwide event and hosting a local fundraiser this month.

The annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 at Wright Park. The 22-member SunPorch team, Memory Walkers, has already registered.

So far, 14 local teams are expected to participate and pre-registration is still open at www.alz.org. Teams can also register from 9 to 10 a.m. the day of the Walk.

“We strongly encourage more teams and individuals to join us for this important annual event,” said Debbie Allen, SunPorch marketing and community liaison. “Many elders who live at SunPorch have varying degrees of Alzheimer’s. We know how devastating this can be for people with the disease, as well as for their families.

“Raising funds for education and research is crucial and finding a cure is important to all of us,” Allen added. “Our team’s goal is to raise $2,200.”

Allen noted that the annual Walk is also a good time for fellowship and to enjoy being outdoors. “Wright Park is a fun place to walk, especially because we can visit the zoo at the same time,” she said. “And the friendly competition between the teams adds to this fun, rewarding event.”

The SunPorch Memory Walkers are excited about their new team T-shirts and are “eager to have the community check them out the day of the Walk,” Allen commented.

Garage Sale

The community has a second chance to rally around the Alzheimer’s cause by attending a garage sale hosted by SunPorch. It is scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, in the back parking lot by the old church behind the long-term-care residence, 501 W. Beeson.

         Participants are asked to enter from Long Branch Street and follow the signs to the parking lot.

         The garage sale will feature “lots and lots” of clothing for all ages, Allen said, encouraging the public to attend. Other items include a large-screen television, lawnmower, picture frames, books, lap blankets, dishes, glassware, decorative items, full-length mirrors, inside and outside toys, and items for the handyman.

         Allen suggested visiting SunPorch’s Facebook page for more information about garage-sale items. Organizers hope to have a little something for everyone.

         “Most of the money we raise from the Walk and garage sale remains in our local communities; the remainder is used for Alzheimer’s research and other programs,” Allen commented. “All of us at SunPorch appreciate our collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association in this effort.”

         “The Association takes the lead in organizing the Walk, here and around the country. More than 600 communities nationwide participate in the Walk and we are glad to be one of them.”

         Allen mentioned a few Alzheimer’s statistics: One in 10 people age 65 and older has the disease; about one-third of people age 85 and older have it; and of the 5.8 million people who suffer from Alzheimer’s, 81 percent are age 75 or older.

         Fundraising for Alzheimer’s continues until the end of the year.

SunPorch Offers Information About Advanced Directives for Healthcare

April 2019 • Contact: Debbie Allen, 620-227-7512 •

In her role as marketing and community liaison at SunPorch of Dodge City, Debbie Allen knows the importance of advanced directives for healthcare. Therefore, she wants to take advantage of Healthcare Decisions Day, April 16, which is a local and national effort to spread the word.

“Since I have started helping with admissions here at SunPorch, I am often reminded of the need for public knowledge about advanced directives for healthcare,” Allen said. “So, in observance of this special day in April, SunPorch will offer free advanced-directive forms here at the long-term-care residence.”

These forms are for Do Not Resuscitate orders; durable powers of attorney; and living wills.

In addition, a Kansas Legal Services representative will be available on April 16 at SunPorch, 501 W. Beeson.

“Questions often come into play when someone is already hospitalized, perhaps in a coma, or otherwise incapacitated physically or mentally,” Allen said. “This is when the family asks ‘what should we do’? A living will helps answer those questions.

“It provides the opportunity to express yourself in writing when you can’t express yourself verbally, taking the burden off your family,” she explained. “A living will can be a gift to those faced with difficult decisions.”

It is extremely important for family members to talk with one another before tragedy strikes, Allen emphasized.

“If we don’t have these conversations, there can be devastating results,” she said. “One sibling might want to do everything possible, while another doesn’t think prolonging the inevitable is the right thing to do.

“With advanced directives, family members know their loved one’s wishes, which takes the guilt and anxiety off the family.”

Allen noted that her position at SunPorch has opened her eyes about medical issues that may require feeding tubes, intubation and other measures that are extraordinarily personal.
“After discussing these possibilities with our Director of Nursing Denice Cragg, I discovered most people don’t want to prolong their lives in these ways,” Allen said. “But it is certainly an individual’s decision.

“This is why you designate someone you trust with your medical power of attorney. You can spell out what you want and what you don’t want.”

Medical powers of attorney (POA) apply when patients are receiving or needing medical care but cannot speak for themselves. “If decisions must be made, the person you choose to act on your behalf will be consulted,” Allen explained.

A living will is not the same as a DNR – Do Not Resuscitate order. For example, a DNR applies at the “end stage of a disease and you don’t want to be revived if you go into cardiac arrest.

“Some thoughts to consider are: what quality of life will your loved one have after being resuscitated; and would it be the kind of life this person would want?”

A power of attorney is valid when it is signed. However, if it is sitting in a desk drawer and no one knows about it, it is of no use, Allen said. It needs to be accessible.

“It is highly recommended that copies be delivered to the person you have chosen to act for you, your doctors’ offices and the medical facility you use,” she advised. “It is not expensive to have an attorney handle it and it is worth the peace of mind.”

Another option is making an appointment with Kansas Legal Services at a senior center. Services are free to those 65 and older.

 “We hope people note that a living will makes your wishes known via a written statement, but by itself does not appoint a person to act on your behalf and make those decisions,” Allen noted. “A healthcare POA does do this. Like a living will, a healthcare POA does not distribute your property after death.”


Definitions:

• A living will is a written statement detailing a person’s desires regarding their medical treatment when they are no longer able to express informed consent.

• A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document through which you name someone to have the authority to make decisions and take actions on your behalf. This person is called your agent or attorney-in-fact. The person you name does not have to be an attorney.

• Durable power of attorney, DPOA, is a legal document providing that this power extends to your agent in the event you become unable to make decisions for yourself. A DPOA generally remains in effect until the principal revokes the power or dies. It also can be terminated if a court finds the document invalid or revokes the agent’s authority, or if the principal gets divorced and the spouse was the agent.

• Financial power of attorney is a way to allow someone else to manage your finances if you are unable to make decisions. The power is granted in a document, and is not only useful for you; it can help your family in times of crisis. It grants someone legal authority to act on your behalf for financial issues.

• Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) is a legal order to withhold cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) in case the heart stops or breathing stops.


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