Help is available for Alzheimer's caregivers

Johnson City Press • Nov 4, 2017 at 12:00 AM

November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and statistics suggest that most Americas know someone who is suffering from this disease.

Researchers say more than 5 million people in this country are now living with Alzheimer’s — a progressive disease that robs patients of their most precious memories and intellect before finally claiming their lives. Even more Americans — primarily baby boomers — will be diagnosed with the disease in the next decade.

Alzheimer’s disease takes a heavy toll on caregivers, many of whom are spouses, children and other family members who are also working full-time jobs and raising children. These care providers are subject to great stress that can lead to their own health problems.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be a 24-hour-a-day job. Caregivers often find themselves in denial about the disease, or find themselves feeling anxious or depressed by the duty they have undertaken.

Thankfully, there are support groups in the area that can lend a hand to those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. The local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is an excellent place to learn about these services. Call the association’s local chapter at 928-4080 or go online at alz.org/altn to find out more.

The Alzheimer’s Association also has a toll free 24-hour helpline at 1-800-272-3900, as well as an online Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers center at alz.org/care.

Another lifeline for families dealing with this disease is Alzheimer’s Tennessee. You can reach the Johnson City office at 330-4532 or call its toll-free state helpline at 1-888-326-9888. Alzheimer’s Tennessee (online at alzTennessee.org) has a knowledgeable staff that can provide counsel and advice to those caring for a loved one with dementia.

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