Alzheimer’s disease is never experienced alone. When a family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s its progression affects many. How does one care for, live with and love the family member the same? Life changes and those affected by the progression of Alzheimer’s must change with it. Learning how to progress with your loved one is not an easy feat.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) nearly 35.6 million people are living with dementia. Yet, only eight countries worldwide currently have national programs in place to deal with the dementia. WHO concludes in their “Dementia: A Public Health Priority” report that our priorities should be to push for early diagnosis, increasing public awareness to reduce social stigmas about dementia, and to provide better care and support to caregivers.
As previously stated the lack of memory loss education isolates victims and caregivers creating wide gaps in our society and the mentally challenged. It’s these stigmas that keep caregivers and individuals experiencing dementia from reaching out for help. But, with a community that is informed and progressive in its approach to care for those experiencing dementia these stigmas can be broken.
“Public awareness about dementia, its symptoms, the importance of getting a diagnosis, and the help available for those with the condition is very limited. It is now vital to tackle the poor levels of public awareness and understanding, and drastically reduce the stigma associated with dementia.” -Marc Wortmann, Executive Director, “Alzheimer’s Disease International”.
Most caregivers of those experiencing dementia are informal i.e. a spouse, child or other family members and friends. Because of such great responsibilities and burdens these informally trained caregivers are more prone to mental disorders like depression and/or anxiety, and often in poor health themselves. Many families find that the economic burden of caring for their family member experiencing dementia in a facility to be quite taxing; which causes families to often times give up their jobs and stay home. These decisions affect families in many ways and specifically their financial situation and an eventually affect local economies. Providing community based support like Adult Day Cares can alleviate the burden at a nominal cost to the family, quickly, changing financial outlooks for families and their communities.
Local programs and support systems can help break family caregivers out of despair and into hope. Reach out to your local support systems, because they provide individuals with practical everyday tools and resources to change situations around.
Join Evangelical Homes of Michigan, Glacier Hills Senior Living Community , Presbyterian Villages of Michigan and United Methodist Retirement Communities on Feb. 8, 2015 at 7pm at Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, MI for the screening of Glen Campbell’s “I’ll Be Me,” which shares the journey of how he and his family navigated through the unpredictable terrain of this progressive disease.
World Health Organization