During National Family Caregivers Month take a step to honor West Virginia Alzheimer’s Caregivers


CHARLESTON November is National Family Caregivers Month, but for Alzheimer’s caregivers, the emphasis on families and caregiving is year-round.

Family members, friends, and other unpaid caregivers provide the bulk of help to older adults in the United States, and nearly half of all caregivers (48 percent) provide help for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

Caregiver stress is common and can take many forms – from anger, to depression, to exhaustion to other health problems. But the Alzheimer’s Association West VirginiaChapter is encouraging the public to recognize the signsand to do something nice to help a caregiver.

According to statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association, West Virginia ranks ninth in the nation in terms of the average number of caregiving hours per week per unpaid caregiver. In addition, 72.2 percent of West Virginia caregivers report having a chronic condition; about 25 percent of caregivers report being depressed and 16.6 percent of West Virginia caregivers report being in poor physical health, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Sharon Covert, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association West Virginia Chapter, said, “The care provided to people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is wide-ranging and tends to be more time-intensive and extensive. We often hear caregivers talk about stress but that is where our education and support programs can help. Once you understand the disease and you have strategies for providing more effective care, that helps.”

The Alzheimer’s Association makes these recommendations to family members and friends to help caregivers:

Help a caregiver create a care team calendar then sign up for a specific task: The Alzheimer's Association Care Team Calendar is a free, personalized online tool to organize family and friends who want to help with caregiving.
Make a standing appointment: Spend time with the person with dementia to give the caregiver a break.  
Check in: A phone call, a short note, or a quick visit can make a big difference in a caregiver’s day and help them feel supported.  

In addition, for a $20 donation, the West Virginia Chapter has goodie bags filled with beauty items that can be given to a caregiver as a gift. For more information, individuals can call the Chapter’s Charleston office at 304.343.2717.

The Association’s 24/7 Helpline, at 800.272.3900, isalways available for caregivers. For more informationabout Alzheimer’s disease, which is a fatal progressive brain disease, individuals can go to alz.org/wv.

ABOUT ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia - by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. Visit alz.org or call our 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.

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