A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease raises many questions and concerns -- especially for those who are caregivers for the Alzheimer’s patient.
The most important and helpful thing a caregiver can do is become educated about the illness. By gaining knowledge of the disease, it can help caregivers learn what to expect -- although it is important to understand that each person and case is different.
It is also essential for caregivers to seek support — from family, friends and other individuals or families in the community who are also caring for an Alzheimer’s patient. Support groups in your area are a great opportunity to connect locally with others serving as caregivers for individuals with the disease.
To get a list of Alzheimer’s Disease support groups occurring in your community, call the Western North Carolina Alzheimer’s Association chapter at 800-272-3900.
Often, caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients will neglect their own health and experience stress overload due to grief and loss issues, financial concerns, and other factors associated with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis within the family. Therefore, it is important for caregivers to get a renewed dedication to their own care, paying close attention to exhaustion or any changes in appetite, sleeping patterns, and emotions.
Caregivers must take time to learn how to properly cope with stress, and ensure the right amount of rest and focus on their own well-being. Thankfully, support groups like the one at Penn Nursing Center can assist in balancing the health of the caregiver and the individual with Alzheimer’s.
Patricia Wright is the chaplain at Cone Health’s Annie Penn Hospital in Reidsville. Patricia leads an Alzheimer’s Support Group at Penn Nursing Center from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month. To find out more, call (336) 951-4674.