Best Resources for Alzheimer's Help
Discover 7 Best Resources That Help Dementia Caregivers
Coping with a loved one's dementia symptoms can be stressful beyond belief. Whether symptoms are caused by Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, knowing what to expect and what you can do to help -- while getting the emotional support you need -- can greatly improve the quality of care you offer and help preserve your health and sanity.
Here are seven of the best resources available to those caring for someone with dementia:
1. Your local Area Agency on Aging
What it is: Your local area agency on aging is a government-mandated clearinghouse for general information about nearby eldercare services. These agencies also offer free referrals to local services that provide transportation, meals, adult day services, in-home caregivers, legal assistance, home-based training programs for caregivers, and other forms of help.
The names of these agencies often vary by community. But the services they refer to are usually free or low-cost, and calling the agency is free.
How it helps: Area agencies on aging are one of the best first calls a caregiver can make to learn the local lay of the land on eldercare: what kinds of programs, facilities, and expertise are available in the community. Staffers can answer common questions and refer you to resources that are most likely to match your family's specific needs -- speeding your research process and perhaps making you aware of resources you never knew existed.
2. Caring.com Steps & Stages
What it is: This first-of-its-kind, customizable, online resource for Alzheimer's care walks family members through everything they'll encounter while coping with a loved one's disease, including both expert guidance and support from fellow caregivers. Users of Steps & Stages answer a few basic questions to determine which stage of dementia-care advice they need. Then they receive weekly Steps & Stages e-newsletters tailored to the common concerns of that stage, gain access to stage-specific discussion groups, receive critical self-care advice, and can ask experts questions or access a huge library of practical caregiving advice.
How it helps: Because Alzheimer's is a progressive disease that's different for everyone, finding the specific help you need at a particular time can be overwhelming. Caring.com's stage-based Steps & Stages simplifies the challenge by tailoring advice to the point that a loved one's condition is right now. Caregivers can easily find answers to symptoms such as aggression, behavior problems like wandering, or complications including delirium and depression as they come up. Other caregivers using the resource -- which was developed by a team of experts -- add a dimension of moral support as well as practical, real-world idea-sharing.