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Children, Caregivers Focus Of Fort Lee Alzheimer's Week

Renee Weinstein and Doug Feltman at the Home Helpers office in Fort Lee. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Doug Feltman with a display of events for the awareness week. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule

FORT LEE, NJ – A Fort Lee home health agency will present Alzheimer’s Awareness & Support Week from Oct. 18 through Oct. 22 addressing the children and caregivers of those with the disease.

The borough will host a number of panelists at the Jack Alter Community Center, the Fort Lee Public Library and Richard A. Nest Senior Center in a series of public events focusing on financial planning, health care, and other needs of the aging community.

"Maybe the parent isn't taking care of their hygiene, or they are blaming others at the supermarket for their dented vehicle, or their behavior is getting out of control," said Doug Feltman, who owns Home Helpers and is president of the Fort Lee Regional Chamber of Commerce. "It can be difficult for children and parents to reverse roles."

Feltman faced the same issues when his elderly parents needed care. His father lived until 98 with the disease.

“I’ve done a lot of other things in my life," he said. "I’m a CPA -- so if I’ve saved a guy $10 million, it’s great."But this is very rewarding.”

“There are clients who haven’t painted in 50 years, and who have not done much in their failing health," said Renee Weinstein, Feltman's office manager. "Having a special caregiver come in and get them motivated to go out and take an art class a couple times a week -- it’s being done.”

According to Feltman, the mayor will issue a proclamation at the Oct. 8 Council meeting honoring home health workers for their part in building a dementia-friendly borough.

Between now and November, the Alzheimer's Association will train Fort Lee first responders in four sessions on Alzheimer’s disease, and on identifying and managing those in their communities who are living with dementia.

“Police will often find them in a flimsy outfit in the middle of winter, and maybe acting violently," Feltman said. "If first responders could recognize wandering, or this common aspect of Alzheimer’s, they would be able to identify who it is and how to handle it."

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