Persons caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease often feel alone. They believe that behaviors exhibited by their loved one are unique. In reality, Alzheimer’s behaviors are exhibited by the over 5.5 million Americans who are suffering from Alzheimer’s. The behaviors often observed are1:
It is extremely difficult caring for someone with any of these behaviors. Caregivers must reach out to God, family, friends, and others for help.
Our relationship with God is the most valuable resource for life’s journey, especially the Alzheimer’s journey. God will give you the grace that you need for this season of your life. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121: 1-2) Worship, prayer, and staying in the word can give you the strength and wisdom to manage difficult situations.
Another valuable resource is the Alzheimer’s Association. Their website (www.alz.org) has an extensive virtual library of information for all aspects and stages of the illness and is updated regularly. There are librarians available by phone, email, or in a chat room to answer questions. There is online training for families. Visit the local office, located at 240 North James Street, Suite 100A in Newport, DE. Browse through their pamphlets and library. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and willing to help. The Alzheimer’s Association also provides a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week helpline (800 272-3900).2 This helpline is extremely useful for advice when encountering Alzheimer’s behaviors in your loved one. Seriously consider joining one of the caregiver support groups. Support groups meet monthly and allow you to share and learn from other caregivers.
There are multiple books available to equip caregivers for their responsibilities. Three useful resources are:
With God’s help, education, and help from others, family members can become better caregivers and reduce some of the stress associated with caregiving.
1,2 Alzheimer’s Association website, www.Alz.org
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