Affiliated with the Hoag Neurosciences Institute
Alzheimer's Family Services Center
Click here to view AFSC’s News from 2012
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Richard Milo, Principal at Deloitte LLP
Joins Alzheimer’s Family Services Center’s Board of Directors
Prior to joining Deloitte, Richard managed accounting and information systems for a nonprofit transportation/air quality management association. Richard received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended the University of California, Irvine for his MBA. He and his wife Davida reside in Huntington Beach, along with their two children. Richard and his family volunteer at various community services events. He also volunteers time for elementary school and university campus activities, as well as for youth sports organizations AYSO and Little League.
Having experienced Alzheimer’s disease in his own family, Richard brings a deep passion for the services that Alzheimer’s Family Services Center offers to the community. Richard shared, “I have seen that Alzheimer’s Family Services Center provides a very valuable service to families suffering with this disease. Participating on the board will allow me to give my time and experience to a cause I care about, help my community, and learn more about the ways that families and communities facing this affliction can be supported.”
Alan Zamosky, Ph.D., AFSC’s Executive Director, noted, “We are so excited to have Richard joining our Board of Directors. Deloitte has been a longtime supporter of our agency and we’re glad to have another of its employees on our leadership team, especially someone who brings his passion for our mission.”
Monday, February 11, 2013
Susan Caumiant Named Interim Executive Director at
Alzheimer’s Family Services Center
“We appreciate Susan’s willingness to accept the additional responsibilities in this time of transition. She is an experienced leader who is committed to the agency and our community, and we are confident in her ability to lead the organization,” said Doug Schaaf, AFSC Board Chair.
Caumiant previously served as Vice President of Community Investment and Marketing for Orange County United Way and has eleven years of nonprofit leadership experience.
Wednesday, March 5, 2013
Alzheimer’s Family Services Center Honors
Participant Jane Sparks & Distinguished Friend Deloitte
This year we celebrate Jane Sparks as Alzheimer’s Family Services Center’s 2013 Participant Honoree. Jane has been attending the center since September 2011 and adds a radiant spirit to the AFSC family. Jane has been a resident of Newport Beach for 70 years, and is the proud mother of three sons: Tom, Jim, and Gerald Jr. She also enjoys spending time with her three grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Deloitte will be honored with Alzheimer’s Family Services Center’s 2013 Distinguished Friend award for their time, treasures, and talent lent to the organization. This year, more than 35,000 Deloitte volunteers participated in more than 800 projects in 246 communities, including projects right here in Orange County. Alzheimer’s Family Services Center is proud to honor Deloitte for dedicating their efforts toward a number of projects benefitting the agency’s programs and services.
For those interested in supporting the mission of Alzheimer’s Family Services Center, sponsorship opportunities are available from $500 - $10,000 and individual tickets can be purchased for $150 each. Donations will also be accepted online at www.AFSCenter.org or mail to 9451 Indianapolis Avenue, Huntington Beach, CA 92646. Special recognition goes to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, our Angel Sponsor, for matching all sponsorships dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000! For more information or to make a donation, please contact Sandee Messer at (714) 593-1848 / smesser@AFSCenter.org.
Alzheimer’s Family Services Center, proudly affiliated with the Hoag Neurosciences Institute, is an independent, nonprofit agency dedicated to improving quality of life for families challenged by Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia through services tailored to meet individual needs. Our services address the complex and changing needs of families as Alzheimer’s disease progresses from the earliest to most advanced stages. Funds raised by event sponsorships, ticket sales and a live and silent auction will help provide dementia-specific adult day health care, caregiver support services, and community education and outreach. To learn more or to consult with a dementia care expert, please call (714) 593-9630 or visit www.AFSCenter.org.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Alzheimer’s patient learns to stay sharp, with a smile
She fills her time with tap dance class, weekends with her great-grandchildren and visits to the beauty parlor. But three times a week, Sparks, 87, goes somewhere none of her friends knows about.
At the Alzheimer's Family Services Center in Huntington Beach, she's working to preserve her memory and adjust to living with the early stages of the brain disease.
"I don't feel like I'm different from anybody," Sparks said. "I don't feel like I'm affected. This reminds me that I guess I've got it or I wouldn't be here. I do sometimes wonder why I'm here, but I've been diagnosed, so evidently I have it. It seems like it's negative and I don't like negative."
Sparks is so positive and upbeat that she will be honored next month at the nonprofit's organization's fundraising gala.
"She's so helpful," said her social worker Corinne Enos. "She'll push wheelchairs. She'll talk to anyone, even if they're not that talkative. She's pretty nurturing to the other participants."
In the beginning, attending the center's day program wasn't easy, particularly when Sparks saw people in the later stages of illness.
"When she first started, she used to refer to the place as Depression Alley," Enos said. "It took some time for her to adjust. She's come to a place of acceptance."
Then Enos goes on.
"I don't know that you can really fully accept this disease."
Sparks was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment in 2008 after her family began noticing short-term memory problems the year before. Sparks lives at home with help from a caregiver. She also takes medication to lessen symptoms.
Since 2011, Sparks has attended the center, where she pays $95 a day for services that include memory work on the computer, health monitoring, and strength and mobility exercises.
The halls are decorated with cheerful images from the era where memories surface easily – Audrey Hepburn, Charlie Chaplin and classic cars. During a music session, participants sing along to old standards, some recalling every word.
"It doesn't mean they have lost everything," said Susan Caumiant, interim executive director. "They can still have a joyful life."
Sparks was born in Detroit and moved to Southern California as a young girl. She tells stories from the past with sharp detail and wit.
She has been a vegetarian most of her life, a subconscious decision after working in her family's poultry market. As a child, she plucked feathers and rang up customers at the cash register, perched on a stool.
She met her future husband, Gerald, at an Elks Club dance, where every Friday she refused his request to drive her home. One night, she finally gave in but had to wait because he had another date.
"He had to rush her home and rush back to get me," Sparks said. "That started it."
She married him at 17, a week before he left for World War II. He was gone three years.
"We wrote every day to one another," she said. "I've still got every letter."
After his return, they moved to Newport Beach. They raised three sons, and Sparks kept the books for the family construction business. She also earned a pilot's license and worked in interior design.
Sparks was married 62 years before her husband died in 2004.
FEAR OF STIGMA
When the subject turns to memory, Sparks falters a bit.
"I don't notice it as much, I think, as the family does," Sparks said. "I seem to get along fine. It doesn't seem to make that much difference in my life."
When asked why she attends the program, she said: "All of a sudden I went to the doctor and I'm coming here. The doctor must have done some testing."
As for how she remembers what she needs to: "I take a lot of notes," Sparks said. "I'm not forgetting everything. I know where I'm supposed to go. Like any other illness, you work around it. It's just not that much of a problem."
Finally, she expressed concern about potential stigma if acquaintances think she's impaired.
"Don't you consider Alzheimer's something where your brain is out of function?" she asked.
Sparks' oldest son, Tom Sparks, says he has told her that her friends have formed their opinions of her and won't think any less of her.
"The first coping skill that pretty much everyone with dementia learns is how to hide it so you can continue to maintain your social relationships," he said. "My mother is very skilled socially. She is very active in her yacht club. Not only does she do the tap dancing, but she's probably for the last 50 years done hula dancing with some friends."
Her sense of humor is also never far away.
When a visitor to the center mentioned losing track of time, Sparks joked: "Don't tell anyone. You might end up here. It doesn't take much."
The hardest adjustment for Sparks has been the loss of her driver's license.
"I still feel that I'm a good driver," she said. "That's frustrating, not being able to jump in the car and go somewhere."
But through it all, Sparks is quick to flash a lipstick-covered smile.
"My philosophy is why be a downer? That's depressing," she said. "I try to find the up in everything I can. You have a choice in life and you have a choice in how you think. My kids are good to me. I've had a good life. I think I've been very fortunate and still am."
Information: The Alzheimer's Family Services Center is licensed to provide adult day health care for up to 100 people. It is a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Hoag Neurosciences Institute. Jane Sparks will be honored at a fundraiser May 11 at 6 p.m. at the Waterfront Beach Hotel in Huntington Beach. Tickets cost $150. Information: 714-593-1848.
Contact the writer: email@example.com 714-796-3686
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
“A Gathering of Friends” Gala Raises $190,000
for Alzheimer’s Family Services Center
With 275 guests in attendance, the event raised $190,000 through ticket sales, live and silent auctions, fund-a-need, and corporate donations including a $50,000 matching sponsorship from Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian. This year’s Gathering of Friends was titled “Dancing through the Decades,” with themed décor that resembled a dance studio.
AFSC selected Deloitte as its Distinguished Friend honoree for dedicating their efforts toward a number of projects benefitting the agency’s programs and services. AFSC also paid tribute to one of its participants, Jane Sparks, sharing highlights of her life. Notable attendees included Mayor Connie Boardman, neurologist Dr. William Shankle, and Kevin Wijayawickrama of Deloitte.
Highlights of the evening included a commemorative tribute video that allowed guests to truly get to know Jane. Afterwards, Jane and her dance instructor, Nancy Isbell, surprised the audience with a special tap dance performance that received a standing ovation!
Thanks to the long-standing support of major donors to the agency, every dollar raised at the gala will go directly to programs that serve AFSC’s participants.