Today is World Alzheimer's Day. This is a disease that not only tragically affects the patient, it affects the whole family.
Statistics around this disease are frightening. Researchers say the number of people who will be diagnosed is expected to double in the next 20 years. Nursing homes have long wait lists already, yet demographics show that the population bubble for seniors is growing.
Many Alzheimer's patients are cared for at home for as long as possible. Let me tell you from experience, it is not an easy job. And despite how common this diagnosis has become, there is still a bit of a stigma attached to it. I don't believe people intend to be insensitive but the truth is, most people start to drift away after the big "A" takes hold. My mother had some fiercely loyal friends who hung in there with us to the end. But many others kept their distance.
I would bet that almost everyone knows someone who is currently a caregiver. So here is my request in honour of World Alzheimer's Day - reach out to a caregiver. It can be something simple, like delivering a meal so the next night they don't have to cook or pop in for a short visit and chat. For many caregivers, they lack someone to have a real conversation with - they often feel alone. You don't have to understand everything they are dealing with, you just have to give them a pleasant distraction for a few minutes. You know, sometimes it's hard to even take the time to have a relaxing bath if you are worrying that your loved one might wander off or hurt themselves somehow.
Especially if someone has limited support resources, your quick visit might be enough to change the tone of their day.