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Community Voices with Diane M.G. Carini: Nonprofit seeks to help growing, aging population in the South Valley

CIEL offers programs to help aging baby boomers

Published in the January 18 – January 31, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Diane M.G. Carini

Diane M.G. Carini

Some people have referred to it as a “silver tsunami.” Baby-boomers are retiring at a record rate and people are living longer. This phenomenon of having a greatly increased population of senior citizens in our society will demand our attention involving the care and quality of life for our growing, elderly community.

In addition to all the benefits of enjoying a longer life, an extended life span comes with a host of physical and mental challenges. This will most likely affect you. It might involve you caring for aging loved ones, or you might be entering the golden years yourself. You can prepare for these challenges by participating in a new service located in Gilroy called CIEL, which stands for Create, Inspire, Enrich, Learn.

CIEL is a service-oriented nonprofit aimed at helping senior and teen communities thrive. We offer workshops, brain-fitness activities, gaming, life skill training, and more options designed to stimulate, educate and create interactions for growth and learning. Staying mentally active with cognitive challenges, keeping connected to our community through pro-social activities, and bringing awareness of educational resources are all at the heart of CIEL’s services.

To begin educational workshops for 2017, CIEL has joined in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association. The classes that are offered benefit the family-caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients. Various aspects of Alzheimer’s are discussed to give participants an overall understanding of the disease. Ultimately, this series will help anyone interested in learning more about memory-loss issues.

On 11 a.m. Jan. 24, the topic will be “Know the 10 Signs, Early Detection Matters and Memory Tips.” This presentation covers how memory works, the difference between normal and abnormal memory loss, three keys to maintaining brain health, and tips for increasing your memory. Additionally, participants will learn the 10 signs of Alzheimer’s disease and the benefits of early detection.

The 11 a.m. Feb. 28 workshop is called “The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.” This class introduces disorders related to Alzheimer’s disease, the diagnostic process and the management of the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association offers resources and help with planning for the future.

The 11 a.m. March 28 workshop’s topic is “Effective Communication Strategies.” Caregivers will learn to decode verbal and behavioral communication used by individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Participants will leave with strategies for meaningful connection with people in early, middle and late stage dementia.

For the continued support of people impacted by Alzheimer’s, CIEL offers a monthly support group that begins after the Alzheimer’s Association workshop series ends. There are also other classes, activities and events going on to meet the needs of teens, adults and active seniors.

Many people get involved with CIEL for a variety of reasons. Some come for social interaction, others come to learn a new skill or find resources, and others simply want entertainment. If you have a teen or active senior in your family, be sure to visit CIEL at 7680 Monterey St. #102 in Gilroy. You can also visit www.cielservices.org.

Diane M.G. Carini is the executive director and founder of CIEL. She wrote this column for Morgan Hill Life.