Alzheimer's memory care center in Dubuque helps quality of life - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Alzheimer's memory care center in Dubuque enhances quality of life

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A resident of Stonehill's Center for Memory Care walks to her room after lunch A resident of Stonehill's Center for Memory Care walks to her room after lunch

Figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show as many as five million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease. It's the most common form of dementia and the nation's sixth leading cause of death.

Alzheimer's disease is a fatal and slow-moving condition that starts with memory loss and ends with severe brain damage.

As care for people with Alzheimer's disease continues to evolve, one facility in Dubuque is keeping pace.

Stonehill Franciscan Services in Dubuque recently opened what it calls its Center for Memory Care.

It's a household-like setting for residents with dementia - most commonly, Alzheimer's disease. Everything from the center's colors to its daily activity schedule is aimed at enhancing quality of life.

Three to four days a week, Dufour Woolfley drives the 40 miles from his Cassville, Wis. home to Stonehill Franciscan Services' Center for Memory Care.

"It is very, very difficult to observe and watch the decline of your wife of a half a century," he said, sitting on the center's breezy patio Friday afternoon.

His wife Jane has Alzheimer's disease and has been a resident at the center for eight months.

"There does come a stage when you have to recognize that you cannot meet all the needs at home," Woolfley said.

That's why his wife now lives at Stonehill, in a cozy household setting complete with soft colors, a common area and even shadow boxes next to each resident's private room, filled with loving reminders of who they are, such as wedding photos.

There are 16 residents at Stonehill's Center for Memory Care.

Barbara Huenke is the center's life enhancement coordinator, whose mission is to engage the residents in positive activities.

"What, I feel, one needs to do is provide them with a lot of successes at this point," Huenke said. "They've had losses, but now they need to see that success is still there for them."

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease.

"Certainly, we all hope for an eventual cure," Woolfley said, "but for the present, those who are afflicted simply need to be treated with love and compassion, respect, attention and every effort made to mitigate the effects of their condition."

It's the kind of loving treatment he said his wife finds in Stonehill's Center for Memory Care.

A cook-out and car wash at Stonehill Friday raised money for Dubuque's annual Walk to End Alzheimer's, which is set for Saturday. Sept. 14 at 8 a.m. at Murphy Park.

Every year, there are more than 600 of these walks nationwide. Iowa has 18 of them, all of which are coming up this fall.

For a list of Iowa's walks and details about each event, click HERE.

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