Caregiver Resources for Alzheimer’s Disease
If your loved one has been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia disease, it can be a particularly difficult time for you. If you are unfamiliar with dementia, you may have many questions and need educational resources. If you are aware of the disease and its progression, you may be struggling with a wide range of emotions, including worrying about how you, as a caregiver, will handle the years to come.
The good news is that there are numerous resources for caregivers caring for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, including support groups, online community, and a wealth of information to make life as easy and manageable as possible.
One of the best-known and most-trusted organizations is the Alzheimer’s Association. Founded 35 years ago, the Alzheimer’s Association focuses on promoting brain health, providing support for all involved in dealing with the disease, and advocating and raising funds for Alzheimer’s disease research. The Association promotes an annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s at more than 600 locations around the United States, involving more than 450,000 participants. (You can join the SeniorAdvisor.com team at the Austin, TX event on October 10th!)
The Alzheimer’s Association offers support and resources for caregivers including:
Featuring pages of helpful information, the online Caregiver Center offers suggestions and tips for daily activities with your loved one (such as dealing with changing behavior, attitude, or communication), along with resources to plan for the future and links to other support resources.
In-Person Support Groups
The monthly groups gather in chapter locations throughout the United States. Oftentimes, being able to talk to someone who has “been there before” can give a new caregiver hope and encouragement, as well as ideas and suggestions for making life better for all involved.
Message boards can be a helpful way to post questions or follow conversations on topics that interest you, and they’re especially convenient since you can interact with other caregivers across the world without leaving your own home. It’s a great way to battle the isolation that caregiving can often create. Interestingly, the Alzheimer’s Association message boards also offer a community for people diagnosed with the disease itself.
The site also offers helpful tools, such as a care team calendar that can help organize tasks between multiple caregivers, a resource locator based on your geography, and links to online training. It also features extensive articles and tips on maintaining your own health and happiness, even while serving as a caregiver. The site also includes a 24/7 helpline.
Whether you are dealing with a new diagnosis, or starting another year of care, support resources can help battle the isolation and loneliness that can at times arise from being a caregiver. Knowing that you are not alone, or hearing from others who have been where you are, can help provide hope and fresh insight. You may need and want different levels of support at different stages of the disease; it often takes time to become comfortable enough with a group to open up and share. But, as many have learned over the years, your support group may soon feel like its own kind of family. Knowing where and how to find help when you need it is invaluable as you work to give your loved one the best possible life possible.