MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – It is Nation Family Caregivers Month, and the West Virginia Alzheimer’s Association has a special way in mind for people to celebrate.
The organization suggests that anyone who can help out the roughly 105,000 Alzheimer’s caregivers in West Virginia. Teresa Morris, the program director, said caring for someone with the disease is a demanding 24/7 job. She said people don’t have to do anything ridiculous to help or show appreciation because every little thing helps, especially considering all caregivers have done during the pandemic.
We really want our caregivers to know that we are supportive of them and that we want them to take care of themselves. A good way of maybe folks who are friends with caregivers to offer some support would be maybe going to the grocery store for that person, maybe picking up medication for the caregiver, really just showing any type of physical support, for lack of a better term, for these folks to just give them a little break.Terea Morris – Program Director, WV Chapter
Morris said they have been receiving calls from families needing help, and she wants to provide them with some. Some other ways of helping she recommends are giving caregivers 30 minutes off to go for a walk, read a book, or do something for themselves.
This is all-important, Morris said, because caregivers can’t be at their best if they’re not well within themselves.
“As a community, I would hope, and I wish that folks will rally around these caregivers,” Morris said. “And even if maybe that person or the community might not be comfortable dealing with a person with the disease, just providing some level of support because it really might be a challenge for them to go to the grocery store to go pick up medications, or to go pick up their drive cleaning. And those are sometimes quick and often easy tasks that mean a great deal to someone who is a 24/7 caregiver.”
The program director said one of the easiest ways to help is to introduce caregivers to the many resources the West Virginia Alzheimer’s Association offers. The public can find those resources through the organization’s website.
The organization provides a 24/7 helpline that is staffed by licensed social workers. The number for that is 800-272-3900. Morris said this could be useful when caregivers need to talk to someone or if they have a pressing concern they would like help with.
Finally, there are support groups for Alzheimer’s caregivers throughout the state.
“That’s just a great way to connect with folks who are experiencing the same thing that the caregiver might be experiencing,” Morris said. “Right now, they’re all virtual, which is nice because you don’t necessarily have to leave your home to be able to call in or even video chat with those groups.”
You can check out the different groups’ locations and meeting times if you’re interested in getting involved.