• Fri. Aug 5th, 2022

New Support Group Forms for Caregivers | Daily Democrat

ByJulie J. Helfer

May 31, 2022

A new support group for those caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is starting up in Fort Madison.

Sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association and The Kensington, the Dementia Caregiver Support Group will begin with a meeting at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1 at The Kensington, 2210 Ave. H, Fort Madison.

Shandra Eastin, who is a dementia practitioner with 15 years of experience, will be the facilitator of the group which will meet on the first Wednesday of every month. She says it is the only such support group in the area.

“For the first meeting I want to see what those who show up need and if they want more education some speakers can be brought in but right now it’s for support,” said Eastin.

She says that while there are facilities that provide residential care for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s, the majority of patients are cared for in their homes or in the homes of their families.

“In many cases it is a spouse or a child. If there are several siblings, care may be shared between them.

In fact, data from the Alzheimer’s Association indicates that 83% of support provided to older adults in the United States comes from family members and caregivers outside of a residential facility – and two-thirds of those caregivers are women.

In addition, around 30%, or one in three caregivers, are aged 65 or over. Two-thirds of caregivers are women, with one-third daughters of people with dementia. Another unique fact about Alzheimer’s caregivers is that 66% of these people live with a loved one with dementia, and a quarter of these caregivers are known as the “sandwich generation” because they take care not only of their aging parents, but also of the children. under 18 years old.

The aims of the new support group are to exchange practical information and advice for managing the challenges faced by many caregivers; give caregivers an outlet to discuss these situations and share their feelings and concerns; and develop a support system.

The National Institute on Aging recommends such groups for caregivers.

“Good coping skills, a strong support network and respite care are other things that can help caregivers deal with the stress of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. For example, staying physically active provides physical and emotional benefits,” the Institute states on its website.

This applies to carers of people suffering from stages of dementia as well as Alzheimer’s disease.

“Dementia is like an umbrella, a decline in mental function, whereas Alzheimer’s is a specific diagnosis, but what caregivers do is much the same. There is what is called caregiver burnout because it is a 24/7 responsibility,” Eastin said. “For many, they go through stages of grieving because of the person they remember.”

The need for such support is not only widespread today, but data indicates that this need will only increase in the future.

According to Alzheimer’s Orange County, “The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will increase each year as the size and proportion of the US population ages 65 and older continues to increase. With an increase of more than 40% compared to 2015, the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is expected to reach 7.1 million by 2025. This number will almost triple in 2050 with a projection of 13.8 million.

And, the Alzheimer’s Association says more than half of people with the disease don’t know they have it.

“About 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease, more than half don’t know they have the disease. Although this fact of Alzheimer’s may be unlikely, it is largely due to the difficulties in detecting Alzheimer’s disease at an early stage, which results in many undiagnosed cases.