Support caregivers, Alzheimer’s patients

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month. Here in Oregon, 63,000 individuals ages 65 and older are living with the disease, and more than 181,000 Oregonians served as unpaid caregivers in 2016.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is exceptionally demanding. According to a recent Alzheimer’s Association survey, more than 84 percent of caregivers would have liked more support in providing care for someone with dementia, especially from their family. With 15 million Alzheimer’s caregivers across the country, that leaves a lot of people in need of support.

The Alzheimer’s Association provides programs and services to help people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers deal with the disease and its impact on their lives. The Oregon Chapter offers free education classes, support groups and various programs for people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

I facilitate an Alzheimer’s Association caregiver support group in the community. In this role I’ve found that there are a variety of ways to help the family of someone living with Alzheimer’s, from being a good listener, to dropping off dinner or running an errand.

I encourage community members to lend a hand to caregivers this November and connect with the Alzheimer’s Association. Sign up for a support group or education class, or become a volunteer or public policy advocate. Everyone can make a difference in the fight to end Alzheimer’s.

Visit the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org or call its 24/7 help line at 800-272-3900 to learn more.

Sandra Montgomery

Roseburg

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