Every month brings an "awareness month" of some type. From Glaucoma Awareness in January, Nutrition Month in March, and Breast Cancer Awareness in September, every worthwhile cause devotes a month to raising awareness and involving the public in helping to further the cause, whatever that cause may be.
For AgingCare.com and our community of thousands of caregivers, November is a particularly important time to commemorate. That's because November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month and National Family Caregiver's Month – two causes that are near and dear to us.
AgingCare.com caregivers selflessly care for loved ones who have chronic conditions ranging from cancer or stroke to arthritis or glaucoma. But Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers outnumber all others.
Alzheimer's disease is among the top ten leading causes of death in the United States, affecting more than 5.4 million people across the nation. And for each person with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, there can be as many as four individuals providing their daily care.
Alzheimer's awareness month sheds spotlight on treatment, research and prevention efforts, while National Family Caregiver Month, acknowledges and celebrates all caregivers who selflessly give up their lives to care for loved whose memories and personalities are destroyed by Alzheimer's. The caregivers' devotion to the person for whom they provide care is truly extraordinary. Until one experiences it firsthand, it is impossible to imagine how it feels to have a loved one suffer from Alzheimer's disease. To watch the decline and death of a family member or friend caused by a disease that erodes and finally destroys the person's very essence is life changing.
Caregivers' stress levels and associated mental and physical decline affect the quality of care that they are able to provide which, in turn, can result in increased suffering for the already frail and vulnerable care recipient.
Caregiving is a thankless, unappreciated job. You are giving up your life to care for another person. But caregiving can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
AgingCare.com has created a special section of its website, the Caregiver's Guide to Alzheimer's Disease to educate on the disease for which there is no cure that afflicts more than 5 million Americans and to advocate for the caregivers and families who are affected by the disease.