For those impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, one of the scariest moments of their lives come when they are first diagnosed. Coming to grips with the disease isn’t easy for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and for family and friends who also share in the pain and feel the impact of slowing losing a loved one. Additional challenges occur when families are faced with the need to provide care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
It’s a hand-in-hand relationship as there are over 15 million family and friends providing unpaid care to more than 5 million loved ones living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Of course there is a financial toll, but often there is even more impact from the physical and emotional toll undertaken by those impacted with Alzheimer’s and the loved ones around them. For family caregivers, providing care to loved ones with Alzheimer’s is a never-ending job and one that can begin to impact their own personal health. Often times, family members providing care to loved ones with Alzheimer’s are themselves dealing with a medical condition, making the task that much more difficult.
With the overwhelming statistics available today, we now understand the heavy burden that Alzheimer’s has on millions of Americans every day. That’s why it is vital that we take the time this November to recognize the impact Alzheimer’s is having on millions of American families today, to learn more about the disease, and to discover ways in which you can help make a difference. This November is National Alzheimer’s and Caregiver’s Awareness Month and we can all take steps to help bring more awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and support those that are providing care for loved ones.
Alzheimer's awareness starts with you
Here are ways in which you can get involved:
• Participate in a Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association holds an annual walk in more than 600 communities and helps bring tremendous awareness, as well as funds, to the Association’s cause to end Alzheimer’s.
• Share stories about Alzheimer’s and how it has impacted loved ones in your life. Whether it is with a neighbor, co-worker, or friend, sharing will help others to begin discussing the disease more often and help increase awareness of the disease.
• Ensure loved ones with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers have 24/7 emergency support. 6 out of 10 people with Alzheimer’s will wander; therefore, the MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® program is designed to work with caregivers, local Alzheimer’s Association chapters, and local law enforcement to provide wandering assistance and aide in the safe return of loved ones. Caregiver memberships are also available to ensure that back-up caregiver(s) are notified and able to care for the loved one with Alzheimer’s should the primary caregiver experience an emergency.
Whether you are specifically celebrating Alzheimer’s Awareness Month or Family Caregivers Month, please take the time to help bring awareness of these issues and support family caregivers.