Group provides support for Alzheimer’s caregivers

Published 10:50 pm Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Alzheimer’s Support Group will meet at noon on Thursday in the boardroom at Troy Regional Medical Center. Caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients and those who want to know more about the disease are invited and encouraged to come.

Kay Jones, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Resource Center in Dothan will be the guest speaker.

Ann Marie Hussey, group chair, said Jones will present a slide presentation about Alzheimer’s and provide information that will bring a greater understanding of the disease and suggest ways caretakers can best cope with their loved one who is suffering from this debilitating disease.

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Lunch will be provided so those who plan to attend are asked to RSVP at 670-5487.

“These support group meetings are very important to caregivers,” Hussey said. “Caregivers need someone to talk to because Alzheimer’s affects the families of the victim’s, too. So often, the patients aren’t aware of their situations but the caregivers have to cope with it day-in and day-out.

“That can be, and usually is, very stressful. And, it helps to have someone to talk with who understands what you’re going through.”

Hussey said Alzheimer’s patients seldom die from the disease but from some other health condition.

“So, Alzheimer’s can be a long-term illness,” she said. “And, it’s a sad, sad disease because you lose your loved one twice. Once through the disease and again at their death. The better understanding a caregiver has of the disease, the better they can cope.”

The number of people affected by Alzheimer’s continues to grow and expectations are that the numbers will rise even high as Baby Boomers reach the age when Alzheimer’s is most prevalent.

“But, Alzheimer’s doesn’t just affect the older population,” Hussey said.

“We are seeing it more and more in people who are nearing middle age. In the Wiregrass area, four people in their mid-30s have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

“In 2011, the Alzheimer’s Resource Center in Dothan had 11,317 contact with families of Alzheimer’s patients.

That’s a lot of questions asked and concerns expressed and the reason why being a part of a support group is so important. There’s someone there who, very possibly, might have the answer to your questions or be able to, in some way, easy your concerns.”

Hussey said that those who are unable to attend the Alzheimer’s Support Group on Thursday but want more information about available resources or just need someone to talk with are encouraged to call her at 670-5487.