By MORGAN MANNS
Memory loss. Decrease in thinking skills. Behavioral changes.
The symptoms develop slowly, becoming more severe overtime. So severe, it begins to interfere with one’s ability to complete the simplest of tasks.
Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, attacks the brain and accounts for 60-80 percent of dementia cases in the nation, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
While there is no cure for the progressive disease, there is hope for community members.
That hope rests in the lower level of Good Shepherd Home through DayBreak SAIDO Learning Center.
Formerly known as Fostoria DayBreak Inc., the 17-year-old program is now operated by Good Shepherd Home.
Executive Director Chris Widman said the Fostoria DayBreak Inc. Board approached nursing home officials about managing the program last year.
“They were getting to a point where they had taken the program as far as they could and they were looking at different ways of taking the program farther,” he said. “We saw the timing of the opportunity as fantastic in that we could then incorporate what we’ve learning with SAIDO into the day program.”
The nursing facility officially began overseeing DayBreak in December of 2016. SAIDO Learning was incorporated and offered in January of 2017.
“One of the most important factors in DayBreak’s success is the support we receive from the United Way of Fostoria,” Widman said. “This is a program that would not be possible without the support of the United Way.”
While the organization is able to allocate funds to the program through its annual campaign, United Way officials encourage all of their agencies to complete fundraising on their own, according to Widman.
In an effort to provide additional support for DayBreak, Good Shepherd Home will host a Painting and Pizza Fundraiser from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 10 in the lower level of the nursing facility.
The event, organized by Wendy Foss, Good Shepherd Home community service director, will include dinner as well as a painting project. An instructor from Simply Susan’s in Tiffin will lead the craft, which includes a beach scene with an umbrella on the sand, waves in the ocean and a small fence in the foreground.
“It’s a really beautiful picture and it will be a great evening,” Foss said.
The menu will include homemade pizza by house cook Chris Yoder as well as salad, fresh fruit and homemade cream puffs by pastry chef Doug Meadows. Lemonade, pop and coffee will also be available.
Cost is $30 per person and includes all painting supplies and dinner. Participants may pay at the door but are required to RSVP by Friday to firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-937-1801 or by stopping at the front desk of Good Shepherd Home.
Good Shepherd Home also hosted a Bob Evan’s fundraiser this year and will host a Marco’s Pizza fundraiser today. Foss said 15 percent of evening sales will be donated to DayBreak SAIDO if clients mention the program.
“We want to make it affordable for everyone,” she said of the program. “We want to continue to offer this to the community because we’ve seen some very positive changes, both in our in-house (residents) and with the DayBreak (participants).”
Previously offered three days a week, DayBreak SAIDO is now offered Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Widman described the former model as social while the current model is therapeutic, providing more structure.
“The entire time the client is participating in our program, it is structured with meaningful activities and interactions,” he said.
Participants start the day with daily blend, which includes a snack and coffee over small talk about the previous day or weekend. After about 30 minutes, the program then transitions an individual component called smart start. Meanwhile, participants will begin 30-minute SAIDO sessions with a supporter.
The therapy was developed about 15 years ago by the Kumon Institute of Education of Osaka, Japan. It is based on the concept that engaging in the simple, specific therapy stimulates the prefrontal cortex of the brain and can reverse dementia symptoms.
SAIDO is a series of brain exercises — including reading, writing and arithmetic — that are administered in an effort to stimulate the prefrontal cortex.
A supporter, or a staff member trained in SAIDO Learning, is paired with one or two learners, or participants, and distributes mathematical materials, reading materials and a number board for learners to complete.
Stimulating the prefrontal cortex helps with thinking, managing emotions, improving communication, controlling actions, mental concentration, self-motivation, decision making and recalling memories, according to Foss.
“We give hope to those who have dementia,” she said. “It’s not a cure, but it does delay. We don’t simply provide care for individuals with dementia but our goal is to slow the progress of the disease and symptoms, keeping them in their homes and active in the community longer.”
After lunch, the group will partake in an exercise during essential fitness. A group activity follows, typically focusing on brain work.
The last 15 minutes of the program includes a wrap up, where participants talk about what they did throughout the day.
Widman said the program is open to anyone who believes they could benefit from regaining some of the functions that have been lost through the disease of Alzheimer’s.
The nursing facility also has about 20 residents who participate in SAIDO Learning separate from the DayBreak program. The brain exercises are administered five times a week for 30 minutes.
In partnership with the Kumon Institute, Good Shepherd Home is one of 18 facilities in the nation utilizing a non-pharmaceutical treatment called SAIDO that has proven to slow and even reverse the progress of Alzheimer’s, which, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
“The goal of the program is not education,” Widman said. “We’re stimulating that prefrontal cortex to help those affected by Alzheimer’s and we’ve seen a lot of positive things come from it.”
For more information on DayBreak SAIDO Learning Center, visit www.goodshepherdhome.com/elizajennings.org, email email@example.com or call 419-937-1801.