Take a step to help area’s Alzheimer’s caregivers

Take a step to help area’s Alzheimer’s caregivers

November is National Family Caregivers Month, but for Alzheimer’s caregivers, the emphasis on families and caregiving is year round.

For those with loved ones in long-term care facilities, family ties are strained because they haven’t been able to touch their loved ones since March because of restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Caring for a loved one at home during the pandemic is stressful also because caregivers have had to take extra precautions including limiting family and paid help to keep their loved ones safe.

The Alzheimer’s Association Greater East Ohio Area Chapter is encouraging people in Northeast Ohio to take a step to honor a caregiver this month, which also is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. For 250,000 people in the chapter’s 17 counties, the role of caregiver is a responsibility that sometimes leaves them emotionally and mentally depleted.

“Being an Alzheimer’s caregiver is a constant roller coaster of emotions that requires time, skill, emotional patience and a pledge to advocate the best you can for your loved one,” said Rebecca Hall, program director for the Alzheimer’s Association Greater East Ohio Chapter. “The association provides free education and support services to lift caregivers up and help them provide the best possible care they can. What we need is for people to help connect those caregivers to our free services or do something kind for those you love.”

Here are some examples of steps to help a caregiver:

—Provide the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 Helpline number, which is 800-272-3900, to a caregiver and encourage them to call.

—Volunteer to do a task for a caregiver to give them some free time.

—Provide them with the link to the association’s support groups at www.alz.org/eastohio/helping_you/caregiver_support_groups.

—Suggest they contact the Greater East Ohio Area Alzheimer’s office at 800-272-3900 for a care consultation.

On Nov. 19 the association offered a special “Caring for the Caregiver” session about the impact of caregiver stress, the importance of self-care and ways caregivers can care for themselves. The association regularly offers free educational webinars about Alzheimer’s, which is a fatal, progressive brain disease that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed. To find classes that fit your schedule, go to www.alz.org/crf. For around-the-clock caregiving help, call the association’s 24/7 Helpline.

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