Resolutions for Caregivers
Eat better, quit smoking, save money— for many of us, the new year means a fresh start and great intentions. As a caregiver, you may want to consider a different New Year’s resolution and commit to taking better care of yourself.
“You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of someone else,” said Alzheimer’s Association Associate Director of Early Stage Services and Care Consultation Denise Saxman, LCSW. Caregivers need to schedule time for themselves and build it in to their day. “There’s no reason to feel guilty about taking care of yourself.”
The following resolutions can help you have a happier and healthier 2013:
Get support: Alzheimer's disease is life-changing for both those who are diagnosed and those close to them. There’s multiple ways you can find support at the Alzheimer’s Association. Here are a few: call the 24/7 hotline at 1.800.272.3900, visit one of our support groups to connect with other caregivers or use resources such as trainings, workshops, books and DVDs to better your caregiving skills.
Become a healthy caregiver: You may find yourself with so many responsibilities that you neglect taking good care of yourself. More than 60 percent of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high; one-third report symptoms of depression. The best thing you can do for the person you are caring for is stay physically and emotionally strong. Here are a few examples you may want to consider: see the doctor, get moving and eat well. Read more about becoming a healthy caregiver here.
Plan for the future: Putting financial and legal plans in place now prevents problems and confusion in the future, and allows the person with dementia to express wishes for their future care and decisions. It also allows time to work through the complex issues involved in long-term care. Read more about the number of financial resources that may be available to help cover the costs of care here.
Get Fit in 2013 with the Alzheimer's Association
Do you have ‘get fit’ or ‘be more active’ listed as one of your New Year’s resolutions? If so, we have plenty of suggestions as to how you can achieve your New Year’s resolution all year long while supporting the Alzheimer’s Association.
"Whether you want to stay active or just try something new this year, participating in one of our events helps increase awareness and inspire others to take action in the fight against Alzheimer's,” said Alzheimer’s Association Director of Development, Cathy Boyer.
ALZ Stars: Challenge yourself to change the course of Alzheimer’s disease by signing up to be an ALZ Star. Go the distance in the fight against this devastating disease by training for and completing the 2013 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon on May 4, 2013, while raising valuable funds to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Blondes vs. Brunettes: Stay active in June by joining this popular powder-puff football game. We are currently seeking players, captains, planning committee members, cheerleaders and sponsors. This event pits two teams of 30 against each other to reflect the age old rivalry between blondes and brunettes for a day of fun, philanthropy and friendly competition.
The Longest Day: On Friday, June 21, 2013, we honor those living with Alzheimer's and their caregivers. Organize a team for this sunrise-to-sunset event and do something you love — or try something new — to advance the cause! This event is about patience, strength and endurance — but it's also about a challenge.
Walk: The Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Held in September and October, this inspiring event calls on participants of all ages.
Recycling Department Launches Alzheimer’s Awareness Campaign
The Hammond Recycling Department is spearheading an effort to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease among Northwest Indiana residents by distributing purple recycling bins containing information about the disease. The project started last November, National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and will expand in 2013. Hammond Recycling Director Kathy Kazmierczak created the awareness campaign. Kazmierczak’s mother, Regina Przybyla, 95, is in the late stage of the disease. “Everyone that we talk to is so happy with the program. Obviously Alzheimer’s touches so many lives,” Kazmierczak said.
Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter Community Services Liaison Louise Thompson has paired up with Kazmierczak to stock the bins with information about how families who are dealing with the disease can get help. Thompson wants to make sure residents know that the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline is a resource they can use anytime for information, education and emotional support.
Kazmierczak has used the Alzheimer’s Association’s website, www.alz.org/indiana, to learn more about the disease during her own family’s journey with Alzheimer’s. Her mother has lived with dementia for 10 years. The disease has progressed to the point where Przybyla is having trouble swallowing. During a recent visit on Christmas day, Kazmierczak watched her mother eat some food. “That’s enough to make me happy,” Kazmierczak said. “Those are the times when you say, ‘That’s my Christmas present.’”
Kazmierczak hopes Hammond’s awareness campaign will spread to other cities. “You see your loved one fading away. It’s hard on the caregiver as well, and that’s why I think people need to know there is an organization out there,” she said. “There is help out there and we need to show that.”
To learn more about the campaign, please contact the Hammond Recycling Department at 219-853-6622.