Care Partner Support Group to Begin in Highland County – Part 2


In part 1 of this story, Sarah Rexrode and Harmony Leonard introduced an upcoming Care Partner Support Group for folks that assist others with memory loss issues.  They continue now with more on the realities of memory loss disease but also the benefits of drawing comfort and strength when meeting together to address it.  Ms. Rexrode begins.

Ms. Rexrode begins.  She says, “So Alzheimer’s accounts for 70% of all forms of dementia, so there are multiple other kinds of memory loss.”

“There are 5.4 million Americans today who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so chances are if a memory loss disease has not affected you yet, it will at some point in the future.  It’s estimated that by 2050, every thirty-three seconds, a person will develop Alzheimer’s disease.  That is a phenomenal amount of people, and it will affect us here in Highland and Bath Counties.  On a personal note, I have seen the benefits of a support group, having experienced Alzheimer’s within my own family.  My father has been my mother’s main caregiver since 2009, and without the support group, I’m not sure where he would be.  It has given him some purpose to feel like there is something that he can do about the disease, whether that’s through advocacy for my mom with her medical providers, with her caregivers, even within family units, because when one person in your family unit is affected by a memory loss disease, it changes the whole family dynamic and that person’s role in the family, so everybody experiences some loss.  The support group can help you navigate through that loss and find the best ways to provide the safest care for your loved one, while they have the disease.”

Ms. Leonard continues.  She says, “The community that we live in, we can sometimes feel very isolated, and we don’t always have the resources available to us, but no matter where you live, if you need that support, you need to know that you are not alone in the emotions that you’re feeling, the struggles that you’re having, legal issues, financial issues, how to support the person with this diagnosis, so it comes together as a community of people who can support each other through the process.”

In conclusion, the Alzheimer’s Association has provided ten signs of early detection of Alzheimer’s disease:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgment
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
  10. Changes in mood and personality

This list with more details on each subject will be available online at the posting of this story on (see PDF Pages 1 and 2 links below).

To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, folks can visit the Alzheimer’s Association at or call their 24-hour helpline at 1-800-272-3900.

The Kick Off event for the Care Partner Support Group will be Tuesday, October 24th at 1:00 p.m. in the Community Room of the Highland Medical Center.  For more information, Malorie Brower at 540-468-2199 or Harmony Leonard at 540-468-2178.


Alzheimer’s Association – Know The 10 Warning Signs – PDF Page 1

Alzheimer’s Association – Know The 10 Warning Signs – PDF Page 2



Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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