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Learning to Smile at Life’s Last Laughs

Deb Campbell of Arts and AGEing KC (standing) and a team of performers recently presented their message of creative coping to the Aging and Mental Health Coalition of Kansas City North.
Deb Campbell of Arts and AGEing KC (standing) and a team of performers recently presented their message of creative coping to the Aging and Mental Health Coalition of Kansas City North.

Although there’s nothing funny about Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, members of the Aging and Mental Health Coalition of Kansas City North recently took a bittersweet view of this widespread illnesses with Arts & AGEing KC, a non-profit organization that seeks to enrich the lives of older adults through artful aging.

Deb Campbell and her team of performers, including some who are dealing with the illnesses in loved ones or themselves, presented a dialog of coping based on their experiences and fact, including a stark reminder that every 67 seconds someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, while one of every nine people over the age of 65 suffer some form of dementia.

A big problem involves lack of awareness. One performer recounted how his wife was arrested for stealing by fraud after she used theater money at several local stores. “I told her it was just play money, but she insisted it was real and I didn’t know she had kept it,” he recalled, explaining how police arrested her at their home. “It took months to straighten everything out, but the charges were finally dropped. People just don’t know about this.”

The coalition meets quarterly at Tri-County Mental Health Services, which sponsors the group. Open to older adults, caregivers and professionals, the meeting features a lunch hour schedule and participants are invited to bring refreshments.

The next meeting is Sept. 15 with Elder Law Attorney Glen Smith who will discuss  Planning and Paying for Long-Term Care.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Tonya Rother at 816.877.0481 or [email protected].

Dale GarrisonContent courtesy Dale Garrison of DGInform.com.

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