Are you caring for someone with Alzheimer’s?

support group

If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, you know that the experience is both a gift and a challenge. On the one hand, it’s gratifying to know that what you do is making a meaningful difference in your loved one’s quality of life. On the other, providing this type of care can lead to burnout and feelings of sadness and isolation. That’s why it’s essential to find the support you need along the way.

You are not alone

Caregiving can be all-consuming and emotional. It’s important to recognize that thousands of other people, many of them in our community, are dealing with the same heartaches and struggles you are.

The Alzheimer’s Association recently published “2020 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures,” an annual report that revealed how the disease affects individuals, caregivers, the government and the nation’s healthcare system. Among the findings:

Right now, there isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s. Learning all you can about the disease can help you prepare for the future and have realistic expectations. Organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association and are great places to start.

Find support

The 2020 Facts & Figures Report highlights the unique stresses associated with caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. After all, these caregivers are not just meeting the person’s physical needs. They are dealing with a host of issues that can cause feelings of sadness and even anger. For instance, people with Alzheimer’s experience personality changes and may behave in upsetting, unexpected ways. They may not recognize close friends and family; they may not recognize the sacrifices you are making on their behalf.

You can’t manage these unique stresses alone. Consider building your support network in a few key ways:

Remember that taking care of yourself is not a luxury: it’s necessary! When you take a break from your caregiving role, even for a few hours, you will be better able to face the challenges ahead. Respite programs offer short- and longer-term breaks for people who are providing unpaid care for someone else. Roper St. Francis’s Lowcountry Senior Center (843-990-5555) and Waring Senior Center (843-402-1990) can direct you to resources in our area.

Participate in Alzheimer’s research  

Researchers at the Roper St. Francis Research & Innovation Center are studying a variety of treatments for Alzheimer’s, including those for prevention, current memory impairment and disease-related behaviors. Volunteers can help move this research forward. Learn more and take a free memory assessment to evaluate memory concerns by visiting the Roper St. Francis Research & Innovation website.

Primary care physicians are also a valuable resource for people with Alzheimer’s and those who care for them. Find the right doctor for you by searching our online directory or by calling our physician referral line at (843) 402-CARE.