Alzheimer’s Coachella Valley Hosts Open House At Start of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Carmela Karcher

It’s been nearly 9 years since Frances Miller’s husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

About two weeks ago, her husband, Bob Miller, passed away.

Through it all, Frances sought comfort and support in Palm Desert at Alzheimer’s Coachella Valley.

“When my husband was first diagnosed, I said to the nurse, I really need some support. The support they provided for me was the Alzheimer’s Association,” she explained. “Then Courtney, who was the CEO then said to me, ‘I think that you’d benefit from going over to the Alzheimer’s Coachella Valley.’ It’s been my lifeline ever since.”

With the need to help Alzheimer’s patients and loved ones quickly growing in the valley, so was the need to grow their facility.

When the non-profit opened its doors five years ago, their facility was only 800 square feet.

This year, it jumped to over 8,000, showing just how much their services are needed for families and caregivers .

To showcase the new and improved facility, ACV hosted an open house Wednesday with nearly 300 people in attendance.

“We have educational programs, we have support groups, we have scholarships for those that need respite care. We have a screening center, which is brand new,” Alzheimer’s Coachella Valley President Dominick Calvano explained. “Everything that we do here is absolutely free. All of our programs, our screening, anything that you’re going to do here is 100% free.”

While ACV may have changed locations, their main goal is still top of mind: help those in need and spread awareness about the disease.

“We’ve tried to make this as welcoming an environment as possible so that when people come, they’re not intimidated as they might be if they go to a doctor’s office, where they have five minutes to tell their stories,” Social Worker Nan Scholhamer shared. “We provide a relaxed environment where people are given time and they get our full attention. I think that is very helpful to families who are distressed.”

But most importantly, they help people like Frances Miller.

“Alzheimer’s is like a journey,” she said. “I got on at the beginning and then I got progressively to the end. I’m off the train now and off the journey, but there are people that need me. Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease but what I’d like to do now is help them find a cure.”

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