Irvine Resident Honored For Outstanding Work With Alzheimer's Patients And Families

Ben Allen is the May/June recipient of Fairhaven's Oliver Halsell Care Awards
 
 
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TUSTIN, Calif. - June 28, 2018 - PRLog -- After 34 years of marriage, Irvine resident Ben Allen spends his days trying to find just small moments to connect with his wife, Judy, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's nine years ago. The first five years after diagnosis, Allen served as his wife's primary caregiver, and their days were filled with many ups and downs as they learned how to manage memory loss, mood swings and other symptoms. But through their hardships, he always found ways to connect with his wife even when she couldn't.

Judy now lives in a long-term care home, and when Allen is not visiting his wife, he is helping others learn how to create meaningful connections with their loved ones living with Alzheimer's. It's because of this work he is honored as the May/June recipient of Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary's' Oliver Halsell Care Award, a program paying tribute to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional care in their profession and community.

"Ben embodies the spirit of the Oliver Halsell Care Award everyday as he has not only taken a tough situation and made the best for his family, he helps many others who are learning to care for and live with Alzheimer's," said Rod Gomez, general manager at Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary.

Allen works part-time with Alzheimer's Orange County educating families affected by the disease and other forms of dementia on how to respond to the many challenges they will face and how to find meaningful connections with their loved ones.

He also is an instructor for the organization's signature program Memories in the Making®, a program that uses art as a form of expression for those with Alzheimer's. When the disease affects language, art becomes a more suitable form of expression. With the stroke of a paintbrush, participants can express themselves, often painting memories from long ago or images that represent their hobbies and passions.

"When words fail, art speaks," says Allen, stating the motto of the program. "Many people with advanced dementia become uncommunicative. Art gives our loved ones a way to say, 'I'm still here.' When I see new facilitators really grasp this principle, I know the time and effort has been an investment that will pay a good return."

Beyond his work with ALZOC, Allen is very involved with the long-term care facility where Judy lives, providing opportunities for encouragement for residents and families, including leading a Sunday church service once a month.

"I am very honored to receive this recognition and can only hope it will bring more awareness and encouragement to those living with Alzheimer's," Allen said. "I live for the moments Judy and I still share together, and I want to continue to share that joy with others going through similar situations."

For the couple, those moments of joy are spending lunch together every afternoon, and when there's music, dancing cheek to cheek. "At those times, I can see and feel an instant connection. And even without words, I know she totally understands that our dancing is an expression of our love," Allen said.

In November 2018, Allen will be recognized at the Annual Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet with five other local honorees. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation on his behalf to Alzheimer's Orange County.

Fairhaven is accepting nominations for the remainder of 2018 to recognize other outstanding individuals whose kindness and dedication to serving others is inspirational.  Fairhaven's Oliver Halsell Care Award winners come from many fields including private care, hospice, social work, counseling, assisted living, medical providers, nursing, therapy, volunteer work and more.  For more information and to nominate an outstanding citizen, call 714-426-0444 or email heather@hkamarcom.com

About Fairhaven

Founded in 1911 by Oliver Halsell to provide a peaceful and comforting place for families to honor their loved ones, Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary is Orange County's most beautiful full-service mortuary, crematory and cemetery. With the memorial park and mortuary in Central Orange County and an elegantly appointed mortuary in South Orange County, Fairhaven provides funeral, cremation and burial services both at the time of need and through advanced planning, maintaining its steadfast commitment to care and compassion. Fairhaven is dedicated to celebrating the individual, providing services that are as unique and wide-ranging as the people they celebrate. Connect with Fairhaven at Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/fairhavenmemorial) and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/fairhavenoc).

Media Contact
Heather Wong
HKA Marketing Communications
heather@hkamarcom.com
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