Coronation Alzheimer Support Group looking for helpers

Alzheimer disease is a devastating disease. Devastating for the person, the spouse, the family and the community that they live in.
This disease affects all aspects of an afflicted person’s life: cognitive abilities, physical abilities, behaviour and emotions or moods. While there are some medications that can slow the progress of the disease, there is no cure.
It is estimated that half a million Canadians have this disease or related dementia.  More than 70,000 affected are under the age of 65 and approximately 50,000 are under the age of 60.
There are instances of people developing Alzheimer’s in their thirties and forties and more commonly in their fifties.
The disease often takes two victims in the family  as the stress on  the care-giver  is enormous.
Laurie Grande, a First Link Coordinator from the Alzheimer Society of Red Deer, spoke to a group of  20 individuals in Coronation. She indicated that 66 per cent of caregivers die before their spouses. The immense stress takes a toll on health, thus it is so important to have  access to a support system of family and friends in place. It is also helpful to have access to  a support group that meets regularly whose members are other caregivers.
This support group can offer comfort by sharing stories (confidentially) and sharing care tips. The group can arrange for expert speakers who can share information with them.
Coronation has an Alzheimer Support Group in place that will be meeting once a month on the second Monday, 10:30 am at the Golden Age Drop-In Centre. We intend to use this time to talk, support each other emotionally and learn about the disease and practical ways to care for our loved ones.
We will continue to receive support and guidance from the Alzheimer Society.
We are in great need of individuals from the community who would be willing to volunteer to visit with the afflicted person and provide respite for the caregivers.  As the disease progresses it is difficult for the caregiver to ‘get a break’.  Time is sorely needed to get to the bank, pay bills, get groceries or go to the pharmacy.
More importantly, the caregiver needs a change of scenery and time to do things for themselves such as attending the support group meeting, going for a meal with a friend or getting a manicure.
The Support Group will arrange for training so that you would feel comfortable in the visit. Please phone Val at 403-578-2013 if you feel that this is a service that you may be able to provide.
The community at large can also play a role in the support system by understanding and becoming informed about the disease.

About the author




* indicates required