Caregivers for those with Alzheimer's disease suffer during the - KMOV.com

Caregivers for those with Alzheimer's disease suffer during the holiday season

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(Credit: KMOV) (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Caregivers, especially during the holidays, find themselves more stressed, according to the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Missouri Chapter. 

“Caregivers will often spend a lot of their money that they’ve saved, cut back on their own spending, their own eating, things for themselves and sometimes for their own healthcare because of the cost that goes into caring for someone with the disease,” said Director of Community Programs Regina Lowe.

The Alzheimer’s Association was founded for the caregiver to stress the importance of self-care.

Dahley Mensah is a healthcare outreach coordinator and said she works with families and caregivers to discuss action plans.

“One thing that we found out, data has shown that the caregiver has the likelihood of getting dementia themselves because of the stress of taking care of somebody. We have a lot of caregivers that end up going to the hospital and the person with dementia going to the nursing home,” said Mensah.

Mensah said it’s rare for caregivers to get dementia, but it can happen. She says four in 10 caregivers get sick while taking care of others.

Health experts said keeping a healthy heart through exercise and diet, keeps your brain healthy too.

The association said it’s looking for minority volunteers because research shows blacks are two times more likely to develop late-onset Alzheimer’s disease than whites, and less likely to have a diagnosis of their condition, resulting in less time for treatment and planning.

“African Americans are very private people,” said Mensah. “A lot of us like to keep our issues to ourselves – good or bad. So a lot of us feel like dementia is a mental illness, it affects your personality in a way that makes you lesser, per say and that’s not true and because of that we don’t seek help.”

The association has several educational programs, groups and faith outreach classes to help caregivers and those with Alzheimer’s deal with everything.

If you would like to learn more or becoming a volunteer Click here. 

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