Alzheimer’s is a progressive and degenerative disease that attacks the brain destroying the brain cells and results in impaired memory, thinking and behavior such as inability to control bodily functions, difficulty in learning, impairment of judgment, and personality changes, loss of language skills, and it is the leading cause of dementia. The disease is so severe that it increasingly interferes with an individual’s daily functioning.
Recent studies suggest that Hispanic/Latino individuals are at a three times greater risk of developing dementia due to increased risk of cardiovascular diseases – including stroke and diabetes. Currently, there are more than 42,000 Hispanic elderly adults in San Diego County, and with an estimated one in ten over age 65 with dementia, there are currently more than 4,000 Hispanic families coping with Alzheimer’s and related dementia. Aggravating this problem is the fact that many Latinos believe that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are simply normal consequences of aging, and they tend to care for their elderly at home instead of placing them in assisted living, causing families to deal with the illness on their own terms, oftentimes unaware of support and services that are available.
Since Alzheimer’s disease has a big impact on family life, it is important for the entire family to get information about Alzheimer’s and dementia as soon as possible, and to understand what resources are available to help the family coping with Alzheimer’s disease.
Where to turn for help?
YOU are not alone!
The Alzheimer’s Association is here to help families coping with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. The Alzheimer’s Association San Diego/Imperial Chapter provides a number of free services to help individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their family caregivers. Call toll-free 800-272-3900 to get information on services, educational programs and resources available for your family.
The groups are free and do not require registration. At each group, caregivers can share their experiences with others in an encouraging environment, learn more effective coping strategies for caregiver stress, and understand ways to best care for their loved ones.
* In San Ysidro....the support group, meets every Tuesday from 10:00 am to 11:30 am at Casa Familiar Recreation Center, 212 E. Park Ave. At this group, attendees can bring their loved ones with dementia to participate in the Memories in the Making art program, which takes place in an adjacent room at the same time.
* The Chula Vista group....is held the first and third Thursday of each month from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Chula Vista Family Clinic, 865 3rd Ave., Ste. 133.
* In San Marcos...the group meets the fourth Wednesday of each month from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Americare Adult Day Healthcare, 340 Rancheros Dr. #196.
In addition to these three groups held in Spanish, the Alzheimer’s Association sponsors support groups for caregivers throughout the County, including a group for young caregivers.
A men’s support group and bereavement support group have recently formed, as well. For times, locations and more information,call 858-492-4400.