Jerry Parks, a former vice president at a large Minneapolis construction company, had been the breadwinner for his family. Over time, says his wife Karen Parks, the family noticed changes. “Jerry would forget things like what time his kids’ soccer game was, and then would ask me again, forgetting that he had already asked me,” she says. Eventually, Jerry was not able to function in his high-powered position, lost his job and several jobs after that. Because Jerry was much younger than the age people tend to associate with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, the cause for Jerry’s symptoms remained unknown for years, says Karen.
This book is for people who are concerned about their or their loved ones’ cognitive changes, who want to learn about Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and who wish to promote brain health, prevent AD, and improve quality of life when affected by AD. It is also for exercise providers and professionals who endeavor to enrich the lives of people affected by AD. This book was inspired by older adults affected by AD and their family caregivers, whom we have been privileged to work with in our 15+ years of exercise research in AD. They have taught us that no diseases, not even AD, can define a person and a person’s legacy. This book has 11 chapters, covering AD course, abnormal brain changes, and risk and protective factors; exercise types and effects on AD; and the Approach AD S.A.F.E.ly™ protocol to safely engage people affected by AD in aerobic exercise over time. Each chapter begins with true stories which introduce a chapter’s focus and are analyzed at the end. The Approach AD S.A.F.E.ly™ protocol has been developed and tested since 2004, building on the foundations of person-centered care and exercise safety. It includes pre-exercise health screening process, individualized exercise prescription, exercise session flow, exercise response monitoring, AD symptom management, effective communication, working with family caregivers and professionals, and motivating people affected by AD to exercise. This book focuses solely on aerobic exercise because the scientific evidence for it is the strongest and changes induced by aerobic exercise prime the brain and body for optimizing the benefits from other interventions. Knowledge is POWER! This book will empower people to make a difference in the lives of people affected by AD. Our participants have repeatedly told us what a difference our exercise program has made in their lives. Many said, “This [exercise] is the only good thing that has happened for having Alzheimer’s.” We hope this book will help people better appreciate AD and its impacts and motivate them to join our charge of making exercise widely available and a standard treatment for AD. Together, we could make our world dementia-friendly!
Parks’ Place Redefines Memory Care in Plymouth
The Parks family in Plymouth built Parks’ Place to better care for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Jerry Parks was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s at age 56. He inspired the building of the community.
Lori La Bey, host and founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio talks with Karen Parks, the Founder & COO of Parks’ Place, along with Kaitlin Kelly the Director of Marketing and Life Enrichment. Their goal is to shift the paradigm for memory care. Karen’s family has been deeply touched by dementia. Her Mother and Grandmother dealt with the disease and her husband, Jerry, has been living with Alzheimer’s disease for 19 years. Come and listen to what a family feels are needed in Memory Care and why.