Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Support for Caregivers

For the last several years, I have had the distinct pleasure of serving on the planning committee for a unique conference put on jointly by the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Michigan Chapter and the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology called “A Meaningful Life with Alzheimer’s Disease.” The conference is unique in that it is one of the only I have ever seen put on for both professionals and caregiver attendees; where those who professionally serve those with dementia and family caregivers of those with dementia can meet, interact, and listen to presenters who have wonderful information for all. This year’s conference was again a huge success, bringing over 300 attendees to hear presenters speak on behavior challenges, caregiver stories, and meditation.

Here at The Center, many of our clients are beginning to face the challenges of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and/or serving in the role as a caregiver for someone with the disease. One of our Center friends, Paula Duren, Ph.D., was one of the featured speakers at this year’s conference and spoke of her experience as a caregiver to both of her parents. Through her non-profit Universal Dementia (www.universaldementia.org), she runs lunch and learn sessions, trainings and support groups to help other caregivers in their journey. For example:

Her top tips for Caregiver Health are:

  • Adjust your expectations
  • Allow others to help
  • Increase your healthy behaviors
  • Take one day at a time
  • Maintain a positive mindset
  • Know that there is no one right way

The Alzheimer’s Association also has a number of support groups for both caregivers and those with early through mid-stage dementias (24/7 Helpline – 1-800-272-3900). Getting support from others going through similar experiences as you is very important for your psychological and emotional well-being. If you or someone you know is in need of additional resources, do not hesitate to reach out to me at sandy.adams@centerfinplan.com, I am always happy to help!

Sandra Adams, CFP® , CeFT™ is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.


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