TRMC hosts support group

Published 8:13 am Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More than 84,000 people in Alabama are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and 10,000 of those are in the service area of the Alzheimer’s Resource Center in Dothan that includes Pike and 15 other Alabama counties and a portion of Northwest Florida.

For every person who is affected by this incurable disease, there are family members who are the caregivers.

Recognizing the need for support for the caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients, Troy Regional Medical Center hosts the monthly meeting of the Pike County Alzheimer’s Support Group, which is facilitated by Anne Marie Hussey of Troy.

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The Alzheimer’s Support Group meets the first Thursday of each month at TRMC.

“The first Thursday of September is on the first day of September and the Alzheimer’s Support Group will meet at noon Thursday at Troy Regional Medical Center and lunch will be provided by the hospital,” Hussey said. “All caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients are invited and encouraged to come. Just stop by the front desk at the hospital and you will be given a lunch ticket and directed to the room where we’ll meet.”

Hussey said the meetings are informal discussions about what is going on with the Alzheimer’s patients and how each caregiver is handling the situations they encounter.

“Sometimes we’ll have a program dealing with a certain aspect of Alzheimer’s but most of the time, the meetings are just times of sharing and brainstorming about what each caregiver has found that works for them and what hasn’t worked. Caregivers often learn best how to handle their loved one from others who are encountering the same behavior.”

Hussey will have information available from the Alzheimer’s Resource Center in Dothan that will provide information about the disease and the latest treatments developed from research into the disease and programs that can be beneficial.

“One of the programs that many caregivers have come to depend on is the Wandering program that is designed to help located an Alzheimer’s patient who wanders off and becomes lost,” Hussey said. “This program is offered through the sheriff’s department and provides a tracking bracelet that the Alzheimer’s patient wears. The bracelet is free but the patient’s family is responsible for the batteries.”

The Pike County Alzheimer’s Support Group also provides telephone support for the caregivers between group meetings.

Hussey’s dad, the late Ray Hickman, was an Alzheimer’s victim and she said that she knows how important a support group can be to a caregiver.

“As long as it’s me and one other, we will meet,” she said. “I know from dealing with the disease how much it can mean to just sit and talk with someone who is going through a similar situation. So, each first Thursday of the month, the Pike County Alzheimer’s Support Group will meet at noon at TRMC and I know that we will all receive a blessing from being there.”