Jim Herlihy, Senior Marketing & Communications Director
(720) 699-9286 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Honoring 16 million+ Alzheimer’s caregivers
November is a time to publicly honor the millions of Americans who perform a very private and selfless act: caring for the nearly 6 million people in the U.S. living with Alzheimer’s disease.
More than 16 million people – an estimated 5% of the U.S. population – are currently serving as volunteer, unpaid caregivers for their loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease. And November is a special month to honor this unique, dedicated group of people. Originally designated as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, it later was expanded by President Bill Clinton to honor our nation’s caregivers: National Family Caregivers Month.
“Many of these people don’t even consider themselves to be caregivers,” said Amelia Schafer, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado. “That’s my mom…that’s my husband…that’s my friend… Caregivers act out of love and loyalty for this special person and give of themselves without expecting anything in return. The act of giving is its own reward.”
The enormous impact of caregiving
While caregiving is an individual act, often given by the hour or the day, the collective impact is enormous.
“There is much more than meets the eye to being a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Schafer. “For many, it is putting the person they love ahead of themselves.”
In fact, a Stanford University study reported that caregivers have a 63% higher mortality rate than non-caregivers, and 40% of Alzheimer’s caregivers die from stress-related disorders before the person for whom they are caring.
Caring for caregivers
Perhaps the greatest source of support available to Alzheimer’s caregivers is other caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association offers scores of support groups around the state to help these individuals get advice, counsel and a friendly ear from people like themselves who are living the challenge of caregiving.
For more information about monthly support groups, call the Alzheimer’s Association free 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900 or go to www.alz.org/crf, click on Alzheimer’s Association Programs and Events, and then on Support Groups.
This story is provided by AARP Colorado. Visit the AARP Colorado page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
Monday, Nov 30, 2020 at 7:00am
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