As more and more families receive the unexpected diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, they are left wondering what the next step is. What does this diagnosis mean for our loved one and for our family? What are the stages of Alzheimer’s disease? What medications should be prescribed and when? Where do we go for help? Who do we turn to for guidance as we begin our journey of memory care? Who offers support for caregivers or understanding for the person living with the disease? Why did this happen to my loved one or to me? Is there a cure for Alzheimer’s disease?
Many, many questions…Many different emotions to sort through before one can even begin to understand what they are facing. The caregiver feels overwhelmed and then comes that one feeling that can consume even the best of caregivers: fear of the unknown.
Caregivers need support and resources to adequately supply the needs of those living with Alzheimer’s. In the beginning, it is unclear what resources are actually needed, but soon into the journey, needs become clearer. Support and informational resources become a necessity for all involved.
A quote from an old African proverb says that “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” Well, it takes a “whole village” to care for those who cannot care for themselves, such as our precious loved ones who have been diagnosed and are now living with Alzheimer’s disease. That kind of love and support can come from family, friends, church members, neighbors, or anyone else who can offer support to the family as a whole, not only to the caregiver of the person living with the disease, but also to the person who has been diagnosed with this progressive brain disorder.
As with any debilitating disease, to be a survivor, one must not lose hope, no matter what we are battling in our lives. This is especially true for many caregivers who have the role of caring for another human being from “diagnosis day” forward. The physical and emotional stress is overwhelming and sometimes seems endless as the minutes, hours, days, and years of living with this disease pass by.
Alzheimer’s disease steals our loved ones from us. Often times our loved ones become someone we do not know. The face, voice, and body look the same, but the person inside is not who we know them to be. Our mothers, our fathers, our wives, our husbands, our sisters, our brothers, our sons, our daughters, our grandparents, our friends…forever changed and not always for the best. That can become the reality for caregivers and that fact in itself is hard to accept. We want our loved ones to be who they were before the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, but in our hearts, we know that things will continue to change. Left is a person who may no longer know our name nor the relationship we had with them “pre-Alzheimer’s”, but here we are…caregivers…still holding on to them, still hoping to bring them back to who they once were. What can we do? Where do we go from here? Where is “our village?”
There is help and there is hope. You are not alone…
The Alzheimer’s Regional Resource Center, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c) (3) organization that was established to meet the need for current resources and support in our community, as well as surrounding communities, for those caring for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease.
The Resource Center is dedicated to helping provide the most accurate resources in our community. Whether the family is just beginning their journey with Alzheimer’s, or nearing the end of the journey, there are people who have knowledge to help ensure that the person living with memory impairment is cared for in a way that maintains their dignity and respect, as well as supporting the person providing the care, which can quickly become overwhelming if support and information is not made available.
The Alzheimer’s Regional Resource Center is an invaluable community outreach source for individuals and families who live each day caring for those who are stricken with this progressive brain disorder. Some of the resources that are offered at no charge to the families are:
- Alzheimer’s disease (and other dementia-related diseases) educational materials. i.e. literature, books, DVDs, outreach sources and other
- On-site, monthly support groups
- On-site training for professional or non-professional caregivers
- Counseling for caregivers for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related diseases
- Resources for Elder Care Law, power of attorney, living will, advance directives, conservatorship
- Information on Financial resources available, i.e. Long-Term Care Insurance, Veteran’s Benefits, Tennessee Choices program and other
- Contacts information for area geriatric specialists, specialty facilities and programs for behavioral health
- 24/7 Telephone hotline for crisis situations involving persons with Alzheimer’s disease
The Alzheimer’s Regional Resource Center staff consists of specialty-trained professionals who will listen without judging, care without criticizing, and expend all resources available to help direct the pathway of a person’s Alzheimer’s journey in the direction that will better provide quality of life, and dignity until the journey is over.
On September 17, 2016, the Resource Center hosted the 6th annual “Ride for Memories” Motorcycle Charity event. On September 19, 2017, the 3rd annual Caregiver’s Conference, sponsored by the Resource Center, is scheduled to take place in Kingsport.