Sharon Risser Speaks to the Club

About the Challenges of Dementia



President Chuck Grodnik called to order the February 23rd meeting of the Elkhart Rotary Club. Honorary Member Art Decio was in attendance. Former longtime member John Banks visited the club from Florida.

Gail Martin gave the invocation reading a Sioux Indian prayer.

Judge James Rieckhoff inducted new member Mary Smith into the club. Mary is the marketing manager for the Christiana Creek Country Club. Mary was sponsored by club member Dick Koerting.

The Sergeant at Arms was Jeff Peat.  To show solidarity among the sergeant’s, 11 other sergeants stood behind Mr. Peat as he read an email thread which began because President Grodnik issued a email saying he didn’t think the sergeants were raising enough money. After maxing out all the members, Mr. Peat fined president Grodnik $ 10.00

The speaker was Sharon Risser of Waterford Crossing in Goshen. Sharon spoke about how dementia affects many people's lives.  Dementia is a serious loss of global cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person, beyond what might be expected from normal aging. It may be stable or unchanging, the result of a unique global brain injury, or progressive, resulting in long-term decline due to damage or disease in the body. Although dementia is far more common in the geriatric population (about 5% of those over 65 are said to be involved), it can occur before the age of 65, in which case it is termed “early onset dementia”.

Dementia is not a single disease, but a non-specific syndrome (i.e., set of signs and symptoms). Affected cognitive areas can be memory, attention, language, and problem solving. Normally, symptoms must be present for at least six months to support a diagnosis. Cognitive dysfunction of shorter duration is called delirium.

Especially in later stages of the condition, patients may be disoriented in time (not knowing the day, week, or even year), in place (not knowing where they are), and in person (not knowing who they and/or others around them are).

Dementia can be classified as either reversible or irreversible, depending upon the underlying cause of the disease.

Some of the most common forms of dementia are: Alzheimer’s diseasevascular dementiafrontotemporal dementiasemantic dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies.

For information about coping with dementia from "Rotarians Easing Problems of Dementia” in the British Isles, go to their site at

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Up Coming Program(s):  

Mar 02, 2015 Sarah & Brigette Stump Sarah Stump/The Skype Story

March 9th. Mayor Dick Moore, State of the City