Family caregivers assisting a person with deteriorating brain functions experience several common emotions during the middle to later stages of this disease. The person closest to the ill person may feel guilt for past misunderstandings that can not be resolved now, sadness as he no longer sees his loved one showing the recognition of his presence that accompanied their earlier relationship,sadness as each ability to care for theirself is diminished.
The family caregiver moves through stages of denial, anger at the "roll of the dice" that made their loved one vulnerable to this disease, questioning of their faith, anxiety about his future and his ability to deal with the challenges ahead, fear of the financial burden caused by long term care and embarassment over changing behaviors of the ill person.
Support group meetings offer families an opportunity to express these concerns in a safe environment where other caregivers will understand and perhaps offer hope for the future...a changed family dynamic where people make adjustments in their roles, find sources of strength, accept the physical and mental losses that accompany this disease and know that they are not alone.
The Alzheimer's Association is the largest private supporter of education, research, and assistance for people with dementia causing illnesses such as Alzheimer's Disease. Contact the regional office at 201 Television Circle, Savannah, 31406.
Statistics from the Alzheimer's Association show that in 2012, 15.4 million family and friends provided 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer's and other dementias...care valued at $216.4 billion, which is more than eight times the toatal sales of McDonald's in 2011. Eighty percent of care provided in the community is provided by unpaid caregivers.If you know a caregiver, please bring them to the support group meeting on the 2nd Monday of each month at 1:30 at Statesboro First United Methodist church.
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