Alzheimer's disease affects 5.2 million people in our country and, by 2050, the number could increase to 15 million. They call it "the long good-bye". Every 69 seconds someone receives a diagnosis of Alzheimer's or another type of dementia. One out of every 2 families in the U.S. has a member with the disease and the chance of developing it doubles every 5 years after the age of 65. Early onset Alzheimer's (affecting people in their 40s, 50s and early 60s) is also becoming more common. Over the average 8 to 10 year course of the disease the cost to the family can be devastating - physically, emotionally and financially. Before bringing a premature end to the lives of its victims it almost invariably robs them of memories, ability to function, relationships and dignity.
Navigating this journey is tough. When a loved one is diagnosed, it is an overwhelming experience for the family caregiver. Statistics indicate that the primary caregiver often becomes incapacitated or even precedes the loved one in death. This isn't surprising once you understand what is involved and how exhausting and consuming is the job. One must make it a priority to practice self care - both physically and mentally. One can expect feelings of depression and of being unable to cope. It is important to know that no one has to navigate this journey alone. Caregivers need to be aware that they are not alone in the battle with this dreaded disease which rules the mind, and eventually the life of their family member or friend. Whether the person who is afflicted with the disease is being cared for at home or is in an Assisted Living community, Personal Care Home or day program, the disease still takes its toll on the family and friends.
The newly formed Oaks Family Caregiver Support Group can help. In an informal setting, participants are able to express problems, while others, who are in the same situation, are able to help. You learn methods for dealing with various behaviors and issues that arise daily. Feelings can be openly shared without the fear that no one will be able to understand or relate. People laugh, cry and learn from each other. Guest speakers will include: physicians, dieticians, physical therapists, chaplains, geriatric psychiatrists, hospice providers and other professionals are welcome.
The Oaks Family Caregiver Support group is open to everyone – Meetings are held the third Tuesday of every month at The Oaks at Hampton. “The long good-bye" is a frightening and arduous journey. But there is no need to make the trip alone. Oaks Senior Living can assist you every step of the way.
Gail Lancaster, Executive Director
Get the help you need when facing Alzheimer's
The Oaks Family Caregiver Support Group is open to everyone — not just those whose loved ones reside at one of our senior communities. We meet at The Oaks at Hampton location on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 6:30p.m. For more information call Gail Lancaster or Andrew Greeson at (678) 965-5700