November was National Family Caregivers and Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. To mark these events, the Alzheimer’s Association Northwest Ohio Chapter encouraged people to lend a helping hand to more than 420,000 family members and friends serving as unpaid Alzheimer’s caregivers.
Providing help and support to caregivers is easier than most people think. Even little acts can make a big difference. The Alzheimer’s Association, Northwest Ohio Chapter, offers these suggestions:
Learn: Educate yourself about Alzheimer’s disease and the challenges facing caregivers. The more you know, the easier it is to help.
Build a Team: Organize family and friends who want to help with caring for a person with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association offers links to several free, online care calendar resources.
Give Caregivers a Break: Make a standing appointment to give the caregiver a break. Even one hour makes a big difference in providing the caregiver some relief.
Check-In: Many Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers feel isolated or alone. Make a phone call to check in on the caregiver, send an email or card, or stop by for a visit.
Tackle the To-Do List: Ask for a list of errands that the caregiver needs to be run, then do a couple for them. It can be a difficult time for a caregiver trying to complete tasks like yard work or home chores.
Be Specific and Flexible: Be specific in your offer (“I’m going to the store, what do you need?”). Continue to let the caregiver know that you are there and ready to help.
Help for the Holidays: Holiday celebrations can be challenging and stressful for families of people with Alzheimer’s. Help caregivers by offering to cook, clean, or gift shop. If a caregiver has traditionally hosted family celebrations, offer your home instead.
Join the Fight: Volunteer with your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter, participate in fundraising such as Walk to End Alzheimer’s and The Longest Day, advocate for more research funding, or sign up to participate in a clinical study through the Alzheimer’s Association’s Trial Match.
Those who are concerned about themselves or a loved one can contact the Alzheimer’s Association Northwest Ohio Chapter at 419-537-1999 to schedule a care consultation and be connected with local resources.