November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, National Caregiver Month

Better Health & Wellness

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The month of November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month.

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

You can go online to alz.org for more information about Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s Association shares the following Alzheimer’s statistics in Kansas –

  • 55,000 people aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s in Kansas.
  • 11.4% of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline.
  • 85,000 family caregivers bear the burden of the disease in Kansas.
  • 95 million hours of unpaid care provided by Alzheimer’s caregivers.
  • $1.4 billion is the value of the unpaid care.
  • $473 million is the cost of Alzheimer’s to the state Medicaid program.

For those in Kansas caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, there is help and support available.

“We have great support for caregivers,” said Briana Tucker, program director for the Alzheimer’s Association Central and Western Kansas. “We have support groups and they are really great because you can get to talk to somebody else that’s going through this disease as well.”

The Alzheimer’s Association offers a 24/7 helpline at 1-800-727-3900. You can also go online to https://www.alz.org/help-support/resources/helpline from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to chat live with Helpline staff.

Tucker says that if you know someone who cares for someone with the disease, you can offer to help them out.

“If you can give them a break, that’d be great,” said Tucker. “You can help them tackle their to-do list. They have so many different things, maybe you could take grocery shopping off their list or help them cook for the holidays.”

The Alzheimer’s Association gives eight ways on how to support an Alzheimer’s caregiver –

  1. Learn – Educate yourself about Alzheimer’s disease. The more you know, the easier it will be to find ways to help.
  2. Build a Care Team – Organize family and friends who want to help with caregiving. Coordinate helpers and share tasks with a care team calendar.
  3. Give Caregivers a Break – Make a standing appointment to spend time with the person living with dementia and to give the caregiver an opportunity to recharge.
  4. Check in – Many Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers report feeling isolated or alone. Be sure to check in to help them feel supported.
  5. Tackle to To-Do List – Ask for a list of errands or chores that need to be done. It can be hard for a caregiver to find time to check these tasks off their list.
  6. Be Specific and Be Flexible – Specific offers of support (“I’m going to the store; what do you need?”) can be more helpful than open-ended offers (“Call me if you need anything”).
  7. Help for the HolidaysHelp caregivers at the holidays by offering to help with cooking, cleaning or gift shopping, or by offering to host family celebrations.
  8. Join the Fight – Honor a person living with the disease and their caregiver by getting involved with the Alzheimer’s Association: Volunteer, fundraise, advocate and more.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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