A program sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association on July 11 gave family members, caregivers and medical workers useful tips and resources to help them care for individuals living with Alzheimer’s Disease.

The program, led by Amelia Frank, communications and program specialist for the Alzheimer’s Association, was held at Bella Sera in Copperas Cove.

“This class is for caregivers coping with Alzheimer’s at every level,” Frank said.

Due to close relationships between the caregiver and the individual needing assistance, 61 percent of providers experience stress and 33 percent suffer from depression.

“There is a lot of information we don’t know concerning the causes, prevention and cure for (Alzheimer’s),” Frank said. “Eight years is the average time an individual will progress with the condition. Family caregivers provide an average of 20 hours a week assisting their family members with Alzheimer’s.”

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, the association recommends caregivers start journals to track behaviors.

“Respite organizations provide daily activities for those with Alzheimer’s while allowing the caregiver a break from their daily routine,” Frank said.

A local respite site, Angel Care Respite at Grace United Methodist Church, is available to assist caregivers by providing their loved ones with daily activities.

Nancy Reavis, a registered nurse, and Belinda Price are mother and daughter and owners of Quality Assisted Living in Georgetown. They attended the meeting to learn more about Alzheimer’s.

“We have had residents with us that have a loss of memory due to a stroke or other illness,” Reavis said.

Every individual with Alzheimer’s is different. Frank emphasized the following tips for caring with individuals with Alzheimer’s:

  • Always identify yourself.
  • Approach the individual from the front.
  • Communicate at eye level.
  • Speak in a calm manner.
  • Avoid phrases such as “do you remember.”
  • Don’t initiate an argument and avoid confrontations.
  • Keep a sense of humor.

For more information about the Alzheimer’s Association, email Frank at afrank@txalz.org or call (512) 241-0430.

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