In May of 2017, we lost a beloved family member to the last vestiges of her multi-year battle with Alzheimer's. It was not the first time this horrific disease has decimated our immediate family. Since then, my daughter has taken a position with one of the Midwest chapters of the Alzheimer's Association. Through her, we get glimpses as to the amazing research and breakthroughs regarding Alzheimers.
While an estimated 5,000,000 people have Alzheimers currently in 2018, and while that number is expected to swell to possibly 16,000,000 people by 2050, there is also great promise. Researchers believe they are close enough to a solution that it is probable the first "cured" person from Alzheimers is already alive, meaning that within the next generation it's expected they might have the final breakthrough.
There are few jobs I would classify as being tougher than being a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's. It is estimated that at any one given time there are in excess of 16,000,000 people who provide unpaid care for others living with Alzheimer's.
Just recently the president signed into law, RAISE (Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage), a Family Caregivers Act to provide much needed support to family caregivers. The passing of RAISE is a huge victory for caregivers who regularly experience stress and depression due to their demanding roles — as well as emotional, physical and financial costs. The new law directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a national strategy to provide education and training, long-term services and supports, and financial stability and security for caregivers. This will enhance assistance for family caregivers and result in improved caregiver health and well-being and ultimately result in a higher quality of care for their loved ones. It will be phased in over time, but with a promise that help is on the way for exhausted primary in-home caregivers.
Here's a free resource when you at your wit's end caring for someone with early stage Alzheimer's : A 24 hour helpline from the Alzheimers Association at (800)272-3900 can help you deal with that singular moment of anxiety, and inform you about local support groups and education opportunities that are all good sources for finding comfort and reassurance. https://www.alz.org/help-support/resources/helpline
AwareGIVER will continue to support charities like the Alzheimers Association, believing the breakthrough will be found within the next generation and we will have had a small role in helping bring about the cure.
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- Tags: alzheimers association, alzheimers statistics, Family Caregivers Act, help hotline, RAISE program