Valley View Manor expands Alzheimer's care unit in Craig

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An Alzheimer's care unit unlike any other in Northwest Colorado is in Craig. Valley View Manor is home to an Alzheimer's facility that allows families to feel at ease.

The unit in Craig is a secured unit with a fenced backyard for patients. A secured facility requires a code to enter or exit the building. The unit is a safe, secured environment designed to reduce the confusion and agitation often experienced with Alzheimer's disease. The disease is a progressive, degenerative disease that attacks the brain and causes impaired memory, thinking and behavior. It affects an estimated 4 million American adults and is the most common cause of dementia, a group of symptoms that characterize certain diseases and conditions. Patients suffering from Alzheimer's may experience confusion, personality and behavior changes, impaired judgment and difficulty finding words, finishing thoughts or following directions.

According to Regina Allred, social services director at Valley View, this is one of the best types of facilities for Alzheimer's patients and their families.

"We have a 12-bed secured unit for people who have a risk of getting out of the facility and not being able to find their way home," Allred said.

Allred also said the facility offers patients a chance to get involved in tasks such as sewing and quilting, allowing patients to keep their mind on one activity.

Officials say the facility has been a success for residents and upcoming additions will add to that success. According to Allred, Valley View will incorporate pets and wildlife to the Alzheimer's Unit. Allred already uses pet therapy by bringing in her chocolate Labrador retriever to roam amidst patients and this therapy will soon grow. A bird avery will be added to the list of patient activities. Many types of birds from doves to canaries to finches will call Valley View home as an enclosed coop will be constructed on Oct. 28. Patients will be able to view the birds in a natural habitat and, according to Allred, this type of activity will be great for patients.

Valley View, opened in 1992, is also a new addition to the National Association for Alzheimer's and will hold an Alzheimer's discussion at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 in the public meeting room at the Craig Rural Fire Department building. Everyone is welcome to the discussion, especially friends, families and patients of people suffering from Alzheimer's or other types of dementia.

For more information on the discussion, call 824-4432.

Dr. Pamela Kinder will hold a free screening Oct. 19 for people over 50 who are experiencing memory loss or early Alzheimer's symptoms. The screening will be at Mountain Medical Specialists at 2035 W. Victory Way from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. For more information, call 826-0911.

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