The first conference for those who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's was held at Kahlmus Auditorium at MSU Meridian on Tuesday. Alzheimer's is a disease that touches nearly every single American.
Sara Murphy, program coordinator for the Mississippi Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, explains, "Alzheimer's disease is fast becoming a silent killer. There are 5.4 million Americans who are diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and that is looked to progress by 16 million by 2050 that will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. It's the sixth leading cause of death."
Research shows that 90% of Americans know someone who is either caring for or has Alzheimer's. More and more families are opting to care for a loved one at home for as long as possible.
Murphy tells us, "Caregivers are definitely burning out as well trying to care for their loved one at home. The goal is to keep the individual with Alzheimer's disease as active and independent for as long as possible. They don't necessarily have to go to a facility immediately."
As the numbers of those with Alzheimer's increase, those caring for Alzheimer's patients also increases, and the main thing caregivers are finding they need is support from the community.
"Caregivers in the communities are just looking for support," says Murphy. "They're looking at after the diagnosis. They're looking at how can we talk to others about what their doing. We have support groups through the Alzheimer's Association that we provide to help them with some emotional support."
The Alzheimer's Association has a support group at Anderson's South Campus. For more information about local support groups, call the Alzheimer's Association at 800-272-3900.