ALZHEIMERS

Over the past year, the spread of the coronavirus pandemic has created new, unique challenges for everyone, including those living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.

As COVID-19 continues to impact local organizations and the availability of resources, the Alzheimer’s Association remains ready to help all those affected by dementia – all from the comfort and safety of their homes.

“Caring for a loved one with dementia is never easy,” noted Julie Shatzer, vice president of programs for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Florida Gulf Coast Chapter. “But, with the added challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, family caregivers need our support now more than ever. That’s why we are now offering our confidential support groups both virtually and over the phone.”

All Alzheimer’s Association support groups are facilitated by trained individuals. While in-person meetings have been paused due to COVID-19, there are support group options available statewide via phone or video

conference for caregivers, individuals living with Alzheimer’s and others.

Those seeking additional support can also join ALZConnected, the Alzheimer’s

Association’s free online community where members can connect and seek and share advice.

DeLand resident Renee S., who cares for her mother with Alzheimer’s disease, said she has gained “lifetime friendships” from joining a support group.

“They call this a virtual support group, but I think of it as more of a sisterhood,” she said. “We have shared triumphs and losses and everything in between. We have openly discussed the good, the bad, the funny and the ugly. The support that this group has given me is immeasurable.”

Another participant, Michelle D. of Eustis, shared: “The Alzheimer’s Association support group by phone helps me keep things in perspective. I appreciate the tips or suggestions from other caregivers. I have recommended it to a friend of mine who is caregiving for both parents with dementia.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 580,000 Floridians are currently battling Alzheimer’s disease. That number, however, does not include the additional 1.2 million family members providing them with daily, unpaid care.

The Alzheimer’s Association offers around-the-clock support for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.

To join a support group or learn more, visit www.alz.org or contact the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline at (800) 272-3900.

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