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Alzheimer's Caregivers Need Assistance, Especially Coming Out Of COVID Shutdown

Elderly Care - Amanda Mills.jpg
Amanda Mills
Those caring for Alzheimer's patients have to reach out for help and support to help both the patient and avoid caregiver burnout.

People living with Alzheimer’s disease in New York have had their care interrupted by the COVID pandemic. It has also impacted caregivers who often get no break from helping the family member or other loved one. The Alzheimer’s Foundation holds a virtual session Tuesday to provide avenues for help. President Charles Fuschillo says important everyday socializing was lost.

“We had a pause in our life during this pandemic where we really weren’t communicating or seeing people.  Now people are getting out and that’s important.  It’s important that they have a healthy mind and a healthy body.  Caregiver burnout is devastating to themselves but also to the one their caring for, as well.”

He says people who hear a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s have to realize they can’t help the patient alone.

“If there is a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or any other related dementia, and you’re caring for your loved one or a friend, you have to understand you can’t do it alone.  You need a support team.  In New York State and in New Jersey, there’s more than 600,000 people that are living with Alzheimer’s Diseases today.  Use a multiplier of 3 or 4, that’s a caregiving team.”

That will be one of the topics of the virtual session. Another will be to look toward a promising future. New York University School of Medicine Doctor Allison Reiss does research on Alzheimer’s treatments. She suggests anyone who’s concerned about a loved one’s dementia should get more information.

“There are a lot of good screenings available where we can at least do a first pass to get an indication if there is something, then pursue it further, optimizing health and optimizing quality of life, really in the hopes that the person can live well for longer.”

She’ll be speaking during a segment on working for a promising future. And Reiss wants to share with those dealing with the disease a bit of hope.

“I firmly believe that there is a possible route to slowing or curing Alzheimer’s.  The reason I do what I do is because I believe that it can happen.”

The Alzheimer's Foundation Educating America Event will include:

  • Living Well with Alzheimer’s Disease: What we can do now and a look at a promising future -  When Alzheimer’s enters your life, there are adaptations that caregivers need to make to help their loved ones live a high quality of life and maintain optimal health while living with Alzheimer’s disease.  Learn tips for maintaining optimal health and quality-of-life while living with Alzheimer’s disease. Also, some of the newest, cutting-edge approaches that have promise for a real breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research.
  • Putting Your Healthcare Team Together – Having a strong network is essential for caregivers to reduce stress, prevent burnout, and ultimately provide the best care possible.  Find out important tips on how to build that support structure to aid in caregiving.  They will also provide tips for long-term care planning, discuss different long-term care options and their benefits, and details that everyone should know when planning their long-term care strategies. 
  • Healthcare Advisory and Management Services for the Alzheimer’s Client and Family – Having a care manager to assist you can make a world of difference and help improve quality of life, independence, and overall well-being.  Learn the role of a care manager and how one comes into place, knowing when it is the right time to ask for help, and tips for connecting to healthcare resources.

    Both Reiss and Fuschillo hope professional and family caregivers take part in the Alzheimer’s Foundation’s Educating America Tour for New York residents. It starts at 10:00 a.m. … Information and the link can be found here.