Help for Alzheimer's/Dementia Caregivers

Jun 26, 2018
Originally published on June 25, 2018 12:00 pm

Caring for someone who has Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia is always a daunting task. Those caregivers will be getting some much needed help during an upcoming conference in Tallahassee on Saturday, June 30.

The conference is hosted by the local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association where David Huckabee is the vice president of programs.

"The Alzheimer's Association provides care and support for people affected by Alzheimer's and when we say 'affected,' we paint that with a really broad brushstroke."

Meaning, added Huckabee, not only those who have the condition, but also those who care for those with the condition.

"We provide a 24-hour a day helpline that is operated around the clock for anyone who has any questions and then we provide education, training, support groups for caregivers, for professionals and for people with the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease."

But the need is growing. Even in Tallahassee, historically one of Florida's youngest cities in terms of the population's median age. Vicky Rose, coordinator with the Memory Disorder Clinic at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, sees it everyday.

"We are seeing more and more families that are coming in younger and younger, either themselves or families bring a loved one that they're concerned about and this isn't going to slow up."

In fact, Rose said the forecast is frightening.

"There will be a 41.2 percent growth of people diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease by 2025 in the state of Florida."

That will be accompanied by a corresponding rise in the chance of becoming a caregiver to someone with the disease. Thus, explained the Alzheimer Association's Huckabee, the Tallahassee Caregiver Conference happening the last day of this month.

"Nobody puts on their job application that they want to be a caregiver some day. That's not something any of us plan for. Every caregiver I've met is doing the best job they can with the resources they have. And so we strive to bring these types of events to local communities to show them that there are a lot of resources out there. How can we help you? How can we deal with your individual journey and help you along with that?" he said.

TMH's Rose said there will be plenty of help on hand.

"It's like a one-stop shop for them to talk with the Alzheimer's Project. To learn about the State of Florida's Dementia Care and Cure initiative. To learn about what a memory disorder clinic is and how we span the entire state. And we're here anytime you need; when you have a difficult moment and you need to call for resources. That's why we're here."

Because so many caregivers can't leave the person they're caring for behind, Rose said that's been taken care of as well.

"We will have ElderCare Services Elder Day Stay doing the respite right there in the Old West Enrichment Center with us. So the caregivers will be in one spot, hopefully going around and learning a little bit, and then the person living with dementia will be with Elder Day Stay in very competent hands having a lot of fun." The Alzheimer Association's David Huckabee said the event will take place at the Old West Enrichment Center on Lake Bradford Road on Saturday, June 30th from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

"We are asking everyone to RSVP so that we can get a count because we're providing lunch and we want to make sure we have space for all the caregivers that need to come and that is to our 24-hour helpline, which is: 800-272-3900."

The entire event, including lunch, is free of charge.

Copyright 2018 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.