Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Caregivers and Alzheimer's

Fifth Annual Alzheimer’s Caregiver Conference

Bobbie Fields
By Bobbie Fields

The Fifth Annual Alzheimer’s Caregiver Conference was about becoming an empowered caregiver. It can feel overwhelming to take care of a person with dementia, and may harm both if the caregiver is neglected.

Alzheimer’s is a disease of the brain that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. It is not a normal part of aging. The disease may cause a person to become confused, get lost in familiar places, misplace things or have trouble with language.

Brent Worthington, a former primary caregiver, is the author of “Things you never want to hear your grandmother say.”  He spoke about his experience with caring for his grandmother. Mr. Worthington said there were times when he had to be creative in order to get her to eat, bathe, dress and go to bed.

Dr. Brandon C. Baughman, Ph. D, Board Certified in Clinical Neuropsychology at the Semmes-Murphy Neurologic and Spine Institute; talked about the forms of Alzheimer’s such as Vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Down Syndrome and Huntington’s disease just to name a few. He said more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all cases. That includes 11% of those age 65 and older and a third of those 85 and older. The disease also impacts more than 15 million family members, friends and caregivers.

For a caregiver to take good care of their family; they must also take care of themselves. There are ten signs of caregiver stress: denial, anger, social withdrawal, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, sleeplessness, irritability, lack of concentration and health problems. For caregivers who may have these signs, the Alzheimer’s Center has a 24/7 Support Helpline:  (800) 272-3900.

If you want to know more about Alzheimer’s Community Resources and the effect on caregivers; you can call the Alzheimer’s Association at (800) 272-3900 or visit the website alz.org. For information regarding Living Wills and Forms please call Ms. Jerry Ashley at (901) 415-3464 (Voicemail/leave message).  

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