Past Meetup

Mynga Futrell: Heartache and Hope: A Look at Alzheimer’s Disease

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Mynga Futrell
Heartache and Hope: A Look at Alzheimer’s Disease This event brought to you by:

Humanist Association of the Greater Sacramento Area (HAGSA) (http://hagsa.org/)

A longtime HAGSA member (since 1987), Mynga Futrell also has had lengthy experience with Alzheimer’s disease, both as a caregiver and as a volunteer (since 2001) for the Alzheimer’s Association here in Sacramento.

Returning to California from Kentucky after a 3-year experience (caring for her mother who had Alzheimer’s), Mynga began volunteering locally right away. She first joined the Education Committee and began helping to plan “Understanding Memory Loss,” an annual conference targeting Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias. That Sacramento-based event brings to caregivers and professionals the latest research, strategies, and resources. (Last year’s conference drew 386 attendees.) Since 2010, Mynga has also served on the Program Committee of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California and Nevada, helping to improve and advance programs and services in a region covering several counties.

Mynga’s presentation will incorporate a brief overview of Alzheimer’s based on “The Science of Hope,” a loosely packaged presentation for general audiences. (It briefly highlights the nature and extent of the disease, and also looks at upcoming demographics and challenges soon to be presented by this disease in California and nationwide.) In the remainder of her presentation, she will be focusing on her personal encounters with this challenging malady.

They began in summer of 1994, when Mynga’s mother’s symptoms made obvious her inability to live alone. Soon Mynga and her husband, Paul, were moving to Kentucky to live with and care for her. They stayed there for almost three years before moving her mother to a dementia care facility for the 18 more months preceding her death. Their humanist leanings prompted several attempts in both settings to prolong and enhance the mother’s social and support networks.

While in Kentucky, and drawing on her background as an instructional developer, Mynga produced supportive resources, among them a small pamphlet, What to Do When Your Friend or Neighbor Has Alzheimer’s. In preparation for the move to the facility, she designed several aids to highlight her mother’s life and help staff and others in the facility to subsequently reminisce with her in meaningful and mutually rewarding ways.

Some of Mynga’s work has been incorporated in a staff training text, The Best Friend’s Approach to Alzheimer’s Care. And, translating those experiences for others, she has presented three times at the annual conference: “From Family to Facility: Bridging the Gap” (2007); “Maxims for Caregivers” (2011); and “The Life Story: Toolkit for Care” (2013).

Your edible and potable contributions to the snack table will, as usual, be most welcome.

Coffee, both regular and decaffeinated, will be provided in the usual abundance.