According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 10 million people care for someone with the disease in the United State alone, with many more affected worldwide. There’s no question that caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s can take a somber toll on the physical and emotional health of the caregiver. If you are providing care for a loved one a form of dementia, you know first hand that it can be a challenging task.
But doing so can be much easier for the caregiver with some physical and emotional support from others who are in the same situation. Research from New York University has shown that counseling and support are good for easing the stress caregivers can experience.
So if you are a caregiver to someone with this disease, reach out and take advantage of one or more of the following resources.
Right here in Butler County, Lifesteps of Western Pennsylvania offers an Alzheimer’s Caregivers
Support Group for families struggling with the challenges of caring for a loved one with the disease. The support group provides opportunities for education, social events and information sharing. Members are typically referred by the Visiting Nurses Association, local rehabilitation centers, local hospitals, and from other participants. The Lifesteps Alzheimer’s Care and Caregivers Group meets on the third Tuesday of each month at the Lifesteps Adult Day Health Services center, located at their Butler County Program Center at 383 New Castle Road in Butler.
The group’s purpose is to:
• Share personal feelings and frustrations concerning caring for a person with Alzheimer’s that you may not feel comfortable sharing anywhere else.
• Provide links to other caregivers and an opportunity to learn more about the disease with positive ways to cope.
• Give family members a break from the responsibility of caregiving and allow them to ask questions and gain valuable feedback from fellow members.
• Learn about available services to assist with caregiving.
For more information on joining, call (800) 225-2010 or visit lifesteps.net.
Alzheimer’s Support Groups
The Alzheimer’s Association sponsors caregiver support groups where individuals can connect with other families and caregivers who are dealing with the disease. Meeting with a group reduces feelings of isolation, provides techniques that can help ease the physical and emotional burden for both the diagnosed person and caregiver, and offers a chance to share practical ideas and feelings in a compassionate setting.
Other Alzheimer’s Support Groups in Butler County.
Elmcroft of Saxonburg: (724) 352-2827
Lifesteps: (724) 283-1010
Lutheran SeniorLife Passavant: (724) 352-1571
Paramount Senior Living at Cranberry: (724) 779-5020
Saxony Health Center: (724) 352-9445
Sherwood Oaks: (724) 742-4651
The Alzheimer’s Association offers a wealth of information and resources on its website, alz.org. By clicking on the “In My Area” tab, you can learn about educational workshops, programs and other services available right in your local communities.
Helpline: The association has a Helpline that takes calls 24/7: (800) 272-3900. It is toll-free, convenient and confidential. It is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and provides:
• answers to your questions about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia;
• an outlet for you to express your feelings and concerns to someone who understands your situation and can offer practical tips for coping;
• ongoing, unconditional support during the course of the disease;
• insight into the effects the disease will have on the afflicted person and his or her family; and
• information on assessment centers, legal and financial issues, home care, adult day services, personal care homes, nursing homes and other resources in your community.
Medic Alert Safe Return Program: The Alzheimer’s Association has partnered with Medic Alert to offer expanded services for Safe Return. The program is a nationwide identification program that assists in the safe return of individuals who wander and become lost. The Safe Return Program:
• offers assistance 24 hours a day, every day;
• immediately faxes a lost individual’s information to local law enforcement;
• provides a toll-free number for citizens or law officials to call if an individual is found; and
• offers registration for a fee, which includes an engraved identification bracelet or other I.D. jewelry. Call for fees.
This service assists persons with Alzheimer’s or related dementias and their families in planning for and dealing with all aspects of the illness.
Components of Care Consultation include:
• assessment of needs;
• assistance with planning and problem solving;
• information and resource lists;
• supportive listening; and
• follow up, as needed.
Care Consultation is not case management, care management, counseling, crisis intervention or case advocacy, but part of it may identify the need for and refer families to appropriate agencies or persons that provide these services. Care coordinators are not trained to provide crisis intervention. Families with ongoing or extremely critical needs will be linked with resources in the community that are best able to support them.
The Butler County Senior Resource Guide, published by Pittsburgh Senior News, includes an abundance of healthcare resources, including Alzheimer’s support. The guide can be accessed at pittsburghseniornews.com, right from the home page. Please note: The support group listing in the guide has been updated, the correct contact numbers are listed above.