(INDIANAPOLIS) – November is National Family Caregivers Month. To mark this event, the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter is encouraging people to lend a helping hand to more than 342,000 Hoosier family members and friends serving as Alzheimer’s caregivers.
“Compared with caregivers of people without dementia, twice as many caregivers of those with dementia indicate substantial emotional, financial and physical difficulties,” said Stephanie Laskey, program director, Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter. “The pandemic has only
increased these challenges. Many people want to help, but they aren’t sure where to start. Providing help and support to caregivers can be easier than most people think, and even little acts can make a big difference.”
The Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter offers these suggestions for providing assistance, even during the pandemic when in-person visits may not be safe:
- Learn: Educate yourself about Alzheimer’s disease – its symptoms, its progression and the common challenges facing caregivers. The more you know, the easier it will be to find ways to help.
- Check In: Many Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers report feeling isolated or alone. So start the conversation – a phone call to check in, video chat or sending a note can make a big difference in a caregiver’s day and help them feel supported.
- Tackle the To-Do List: Ask for a list of errands that need to be run – such as picking up groceries or prescriptions and leaving them at the caregiver’s doorstep. Offer to do yard work or other outdoor chores. It can be hard for a caregiver to find time to complete these simple tasks that we often take for granted.
- Be Specific and Be Flexible: Open-ended offers of support (“call me if you need anything” or “let me know if I can help”) may be well-intended, but are often dismissed. Be specific in your offer (“I’m going to the store, what do you need?”). Continue to let the caregiver know that you are there and ready to help.
- Make sure they are aware of available resources: Many caregivers feel like they are facing these challenges alone. Let them know there are many resources that can help, including virtual education programs, support groups and the Alzheimer’s Association’s, free 24/7 Helpline (800-272-3900).
- Join the Fight: Honor a person living with the disease and their caregiver by joining the fight against Alzheimer’s. You can volunteer with your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter, participate in fundraising events such as Walk to End Alzheimer’s and The Longest Day, advocate for more research funding, or sign up to participate in a clinical study through the Alzheimer’s Association’s Trial Match.
To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and ways you can support families and people living with the disease, visit alz.org/Indiana.