Dementia Program Director Maribeth Gallagher’s commitment to improving dementia care was inspired by her own experiences as a family caregiver.
Photo credit: Hospice of the Valley.
Feb 14, 2022
By Lin Sue Flood
When a loved one has an illness like dementia, it affects the entire family. Spouses and adult children often step into the role of caregiver, unprepared for the challenges ahead.
But with education and support, they are able to maximize quality of life, while also nurturing their own well-being. Hospice of the Valley’s Dementia Program director had the opportunity to share her expertise with 120 people at the workshop she hosted at Grand Community Baptist Church in Surprise this month.
“It’s pretty amazing to see the level of hunger for this information. It really seemed to make an impact,” Dr. Maribeth Gallagher’s said. “I loved doing it.”
Her presentation, “Understanding Dementia — A Challenging Journey,” was part of Hospice of the Valley’s commitment to community education. It covered how dementia progresses; how caregivers can maintain meaningful connections with a loved one with dementia; and how to reduce stress.
She was moved by how many people approached her to thank her for all they learned. One man held her hand and told her, “I’m my wife’s caregiver. There are no words to be able to express how grateful I am for today. It’s changed everything.”
One attendee turned to social media to express her appreciation. “What an amazing seminar it was! Three hours passed by in a flash with Maribeth’s engaging, relatable and informative presentation. Grateful for the opportunity to attend — thank you for offering this to the community!”
Some attendees in the early stages of the disease told her they felt hopeful that they can still live well with dementia and took this simple statement to heart: “The person with dementia is doing the best he or she can at any given moment.”
To learn more and get support
Contact Hospice of the Valley’s Supportive Care for Dementia Program at (602) 636-6363 or visit hov.org/dementia. Support is available for every type and every stage of dementia. This unique service is provided at no charge, thanks to community support.