The Alzheimer's Association is a noted authority on Alzheimer's issues. They offer valuable information to caregivers on a variety of topics.
Calls are confidential. The phones are staffed by clinicians who can provide information about dementia, crisis assistance, caregiving and treatment options and elder abuse. This service is free and is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
"The Alzheimer’s Association provides supportive programs and services to help people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers deal with the disease and its impact on their lives."
Nationally, the Association is divided into local chapters. Each chapter offers five core services.
- Information and Referral
A 24 hour, 7 days per week helpline provides emotional support to the caller as well as information about Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, services and referrals to local community resources. Each chapter maintains updated information on home care, adult day care, care coordination, assisted living, skilled nursing facilities, eldercare lawyers, financial planners and transportation. Staff and trained volunteers are available to help assess what services are needed, what services are available locally, and to help with determining the needed support.
Trained staff help people navigate through the difficult decisions and uncertainties people with Alzheimer’s and their families face at every stage of the disease. Services can be provided by telephone, e-mail or in-person. These include:
- Assessment of needs
- Assistance with planning and problem solving
- Supportive listening
- Support Groups
Groups to help support and educate caregivers and others dealing with Alzheimer’s disease are facilitated by trained individuals. Some support groups are designed for a specialized group such as (but not limited to) children, individuals with early-onset and early-stage Alzheimer’s, or adult caregivers. Support groups offer caregivers the opportunity to share with others in the same situation and to receive the same from them. This mutually supportive environment can help to relieve caregiver stress and provide tips on successfully dealing with specific behaviors and/or concerns.
- Safety Services
Wandering is a common behavior for people with Alzheimer's Disease. This behavior can be a safety issue and an area of stress for the caregiver. The Alzheimer's Association has developed a program to address this concern. It is called the Safe Return program. Local Alzheimer's chapters offer family support and work to assist law enforcement in the safe and timely return of the individual when wandering occurs. For more information on this and other safety issues see our information on Safety.
Chapters maintain a variety of educational materials (brochures, videos, audiotapes, and books) on topics related to Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Topics include:
- basic information about the disease
- getting a diagnosis
- communication techniques
- home safety tips
- choosing a residential care setting
- caregiving experiences
- activity programming
There is Help Available
In addition, some chapters offer special programs such as:
- help for those who live alone
- help for those living in rural areas
- help for those who are from other countries
- help for families with coordinating care
- training programs for families
Fact sheets provide quick clear and concise information on topics of interest. If you just want the facts, try these publications on a variety of relevant topics.
The National Alzheimer's Association understands how difficult and overwhelming trying to understand options and finding appropriate care can be for a family caregiver. They have developed an online interactive tool that will help you understand options and will give you guidance on what questions to ask as well as other tips.
The tool is divided into four main sections:
- Planning Ahead
- Care Options
- Coordinating Care
- Support and Resources
Also offered is an online tool that will give you recommended options and a list of questions to ask when screening a care provider. This service was funded, in part, by a grant from the Administration on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The National Association also offers the opportunity to talk with other Alzheimer's caregivers and interested parties online through their "Chat" rooms and message board called the Alzheimer's Association Online Community.
Never done that before? That's OK!
They allow you to read the questions and responses without logging in or setting up an account. Then, if you feel you could benefit, you can set up an account and ask you own questions. You may find this very useful - especially if you are a full-time caregiver to a person with Alzheimer's. Being able to access this resource anytime day or night and spend as much or as little time as you can can be a wonderful benefit.
Chapter programs are tailored to the communities they serve, so the range and type of programs varies from chapter to chapter. The national association provides assistance in locating local chapters nationwide.
Education & Referral Center
P.O. Box 8250
Silver Spring, MD 20907