Alzheimer’s Awareness Month Highlights Importance of Supporting Caregivers – CBS Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – November marks Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
Now is the time to show support for the millions of Americans living with the disease.
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But what about the people who care for them?
KDKA spoke with Jacqueline Ruple, who said when she thinks of her 87 year old father, Joseph Van Alfred Winsett, she returns to a place where he was a dynamic minister who spoke multiple languages and did missionary work in every corner of the world.
But over the past five years, her family began to notice that the traces of the person they loved were slowly deteriorating. In 2020, Joseph was diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Jacqueline Winsett, Jospeh’s wife, said, “Now it’s progressed to a place where he can barely speak and he can’t feed himself if it’s something he has to eat with a utensil. “
He now needs round-the-clock care and after spending a brief period in a home, his loved ones have been immersed in the world of care, which can often be cold and isolated.
“Having to take care of him, feed him, see him from that angle is a big change. It is a change that I did not expect. It’s difficult for this man who has always been my hero that I now take care of him, ”said Ruple.
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According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 500,000 Pennsylvanians were caring for someone with dementia in 2020. Sixty-two percent have chronic health problems, 16 percent are in poor physical health, and 24 percent have dementia. depression.
But there is help for assistants.
Sara Murphy, vice president of programs and services for the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Pennsylvania Chapter, said people should check “our 24-hour hotline where they can connect, including our support groups. We have support groups for caregivers. We have them virtual and we also have some in person. “
Trying to introduce himself for a caregiver, Murphy explained that instead of asking how you can help, doing things like grocery shopping is a lot more emotional because most people are unlikely to seek help out of fear of fear. ‘be a burden.
For Joseph’s family, being open and honest about the situation is the best approach.
“They think they’re hurting you, but you’re already hurt.” It’s just good to know that someone picks up the phone, sees how you’re doing, ”Winsett said.
Ruple and his mother have both grounded themselves in the church and in small groups of friends that improve on tough days a bit. They also get occasional tests for Alzheimer’s disease and encourage others to do the same and be aware of red flags.
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To learn more about the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s disease, click here.