June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month
More than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, including 17,000 in South Dakota. There are resources available after a diagnosis.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Not only does Alzheimer’s effect those living with the disease but also the friends and family serving as care givers. Once a family member is diagnosed, it creates many questions. Understanding the diagnosis is an ongoing process, but there are steps you can take to move forward so they live their best life as long as possible. Some of the first steps are to get educated and connected with others.
Kathi Herreid, Alzheimer’s Association State Program Director, says, “Support groups in various ways are extremely important for family caregivers and families who are involved with someone who has the disease. It’s a very lonely disease for family members. It’s a very challenging disease as far as caregiving and so having support groups either face-to-face or online, which the Alzheimer’s Association has, provides an avenue for people to connect with somebody else who has had that experience or is going through the same experience.”
New research says that many older adults are concerned about memory loss, but don’t seek medical help to prevent it. However, the earlier you catch it the better.
Herreid says, “We really promote early diagnosis of the disease so that families can really get in gear in terms of their knowledge level, the resources that are available, and so that when you have a diagnosis you know what to plan for. And early on in the disease, we encourage families to really live for each day and to do all of those things you talked about doing, while the person is still able to do it.”
The Alzheimer’s Association offers a variety of services and resources available for people with dementia and their care partners. Some services include information and referral, support groups, family care consultation, individual planning process, education, advocacy and information on research. All services are confidential and free to families.
The Alzheimer’s Association Coffee and Conversations is held the second Wednesday of each month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Harriet and Oak coffee shop. For more information on that or the Walk to End Alzheimer’s’ in September, click here.