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Health

Family Caregivers of Alzheimer’s Patients Reminded of Community Resources

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In the Ozarks area, about 7,700 people over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. But as KSMU’s Briana Simmons reports, it’s often loved ones who assume the role of full-time caregivers.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a term associated with memory loss. There’s no current cure for the progressive disease. Impacts to motor skills, language capabilities, and personality traits are possible, as well as body degeneration. 

The effects of Alzheimer’s tend to interfere with the activities of daily life as the disease worsens.

“We are not meant to do it all on own. We are a community,” Pope said.

Robbie Pope, geriatric resource specialist for AmeriPride Home Care, has been caring for older adults for more than 20 years.

A stroke onset her mother’s dementia and started their two and a half year journey as caregiver and patient. Pope sought the assistance of an in-home care professional to enable active relationships with her mother and help through difficult times.

“That person that comes into your home will reveal something more special about your parent, your aunt, your uncle or spouse. It’s a wonderful adoption of each other,” Pope said.

According to a study by the Journal of Gerontology, family caregivers spend about 47 hours a week caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Eventually this responsibility can lead to a decline of performance abilities on the job, fatigue, increased use of drugs or alcohol or depression.

If someone you know is suffering from short term memory loss, Pope said it’s not a bad idea to make a call to the Alzheimer’s Association or other community resources such as the Southwest Missouri Office on Aging.

The local agency serves 17 counties in southwest Missouri. Janice Piper is the director of customer care and information and resources.

“A caregiver they want to do everything they can and they have to take care of that person, but in doing   so sometimes they get rundown themselves. We always try to tell them one thing you can do for your loved one is take care of yourself also. We try to help provide resources that will help make that job easier,” Piper said.

November marks Alzheimer’s Awareness and National Caregiver’s months. For more information on senior care facilities in the Ozarks, visit our website at ksmu.org.

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