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Alzheimer’s taxing on caregivers, too

Alzheimer’s disease is devastating — not only for the more than 5 million Americans living with the disease, but also for the more than 16 million family and friends serving as caregivers.

The caregiving needs for someone living with Alzheimer’s are extensive and increase over time — on average four to eight years following a diagnosis.

Many family caregivers juggle competing priorities including work and other family responsibilities. These caregivers are stretched thin. Many are overwhelmed. Most could use help.

Here in Pennsylvania, there are over 670,000 family caregivers. During November — National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month — the Alzheimer’s Association recognizes and honors Alzheimer’s caregivers and asks all Pennsylvania residents to reach out and lend a hand.

Take time to support a caregiver you know. Run errands, help with a household chore, give caregivers a break by spending time with the person with dementia, and educate yourself about the disease –the more you know, the easier it will be to help.

Reach out to the Alzheimer’s Association to learn more and how to get involved. These small gestures can make a big difference and offer well-deserved support to those who give so much.

Clay Jacobs

State College

(Jacobs is the executive director of the Alzheimer’s Assocociation, Greater PA Chapter.)

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