Alzheimer's disease presents a host of challenges for many different people. Everyone from healthcare professionals to family members to patients are looking for new ways to address the condition, which affects more than 5 million adults in the U.S., according to the Alzheimer's Association. The Department of Health and Human Services recently took a significant stride to help in the caregiving process by providing nearly $1 million in funding to the Alzheimer's Association for it to operate 24-hour phone line for both patients and their family members.
The grant was made possible the by Administration for Community Living, which is part of HHS. In addition to providing callers with a source of expert advice, the call center hopes to make it easier for patients and family caregivers to be connected to other important resources, offer memory care assistance, learn about clinical trials and find community-based support systems. Organizers expect the call center can help upwards of 290,000 people in 56 states and territories. As the number of Americans living with Alzheimer's is expected to grow in the coming decades, resources such as the national call center will likely become increasingly important.
"With the ready assistance that the National Call Center provides, individuals and families can get the support they need to face the challenges associated with dementia and caring for a family member with dementia," ACL administrator Kathy Greenlee said. "Just knowing that others are facing the same issues and finding local help is a huge relief when facing these challenges."
Support for caregivers
While the National Call Center is certainly a vital resource for caregivers, there are other opportunities for them to both help their loved ones and reduce their risk of developing burnout during the caregiving process. Perhaps most importantly, caregivers need to recognize that they can't do it all alone, according to the Mayo Clinic. For instance, it would be wise to ask other friends and family members to help out, even if it means just several hours away from caregiving duties. Additionally, focusing on one's health and well-being - eating well, getting enough exercise - can help alleviate some of the stresses of the caregiving process.