In 2010, William Chatmon, longtime first elder of Berean Church in Atlanta, Ga., was diagnosed with vascular dementia. This disease progressed from bouts of forgetfulness and confusion to physical and cognitive impairment. With the support of a loving wife and devoted children, Chatmon began the difficult journey that dementia brings.
Over the course of the years, his family had to accept and learn how to deal with the disease. Not only did it affect Chatmon in significant ways, it also affected every member of his family. Taking care of him became the number one priority.
As the family soon discovered, there are many others dealing with dementia/Alzheimer’s. It appears as if everyone now knows a family member or friend who has become afflicted with the disease. And, like most caregivers of family members with dementia, there is no clearly defined blueprint to follow to navigate through the twists and turns the disease brings.
Realizing that others in similar situations were looking for help and insight into caring for their loved ones, Shelley Chatmon Hall, Chatmon’s youngest daughter, began a ministry dedicated to the disease. It is affectionately named “Dad’s Got Dementia.”
Dad’s Got Dementia, on its Facebook and Instagram pages, provides weekly short vlogs (video blogs), giving tips for caring for loved ones fighting dementia. Everything from items and tools needed for daily living to insightful tips on diet, exercise, and other ways to maintain and increase the quality of life are included.
To reach a wider audience, Hall authored a book, Dad’s Got Dementia: Life After Diagnosis, which gives a wealth of insight for those who are confronted with caring for loved ones with dementia/Alzheimer’s. This survival guide covers everything from the initial diagnosis, legal and medical matters to consider, and most importantly, how to live in the moment.
Hall was a presenter during the 2016 South Atlantic Conference Camp Meeting on the topic of dementia care. Her wealth of experience learned through research and the care of her father was shared with the audience, and her practical tips were needed and greatly appreciated.
Hall is a go-to speaker on the care of dementia patients. She always stresses that her father is still William Chatmon; while the disease has made serious inroads into his life, he is still William Chatmon, deserving of the same love, attention, and care that he enjoyed before his diagnosis. She encourages everyone to take that same approach with those who are on the same journey of dementia.
For more information about this dementia ministry, please visit www.dadsgotdementia.com.
South Atlantic | April 2017