Byron Health Center will begin to host a monthly support group for those affected with Huntington’s Disease starting Thursday, September 1st, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Members of the community who have been affected by Huntington’s disease (HD) are invited to attend the support group held on the Byron Health Center campus at 12101 Lima Rd in Fort Wayne in the Orientation Room. The monthly meetings will then continue on the first Thursday of each month including: October 6th, November 3rd, and December 1st.
Byron Health Center has partnered with the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) and the Department of Behavioral & Social Sciences at the University of Saint Francis to make the support group possible for the northeast Indiana area. Currently, the closest HD support groups to attend are either in Muncie or South Bend. Dr. John J. Brinkman, Ph.D., HSPP is Chair of the Department of Behavioral & Social Sciences at the University of Saint Francis and will moderate the support group. Dr. Brinkman, who has worked as a neuropsychologist for the past 10 years, will also serve as the contact for information about the support group and can be reached via phone at 260-399-7700 ext. 8425 or via email at jbrinkman .
HD is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years and has no cure. HD is known as the quintessential family disease because every child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of carrying the faulty gene. Today, there are approximately 30,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease. Many describe the symptoms of HD as having ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – simultaneously. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 30 to 50, and worsen over a 10 to 25 year period. Ultimately, the weakened individual succumbs to pneumonia, heart failure or other complications. Everyone has the gene that causes HD, but only those that inherit the expansion of the gene will develop HD and perhaps pass it on to each of their children. Every person who inherits the expanded HD gene will eventually develop the disease. Over time, HD affects the individual’s ability to reason, walk and speak. More information about HD can be found at http://hdsa.org/what-is-hd/ .
HDSA is the premier nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of everyone affected by Huntington’s disease. From community services and education to advocacy and research, HDSA is the world’s leader in providing help for today and hope for tomorrow for people with Huntington’s disease and their families.
Byron Health Center provides compassionate long-term care for young and older adults with complex needs by offering physical, mental, emotional and neurological services to meet their unique needs. Each resident is recognized as an exceptional individual that deserves to reach their optimal potential. Byron Health Center and Byron Residential Center continue a tradition of over 160 years of serving the long-term health care needs of Indiana residents. Byron Health Center is licensed to provide intermediate and skilled nursing care while Byron Residential Center provides services to individuals who are more independent and are able to live in an assisted-living residential setting.