An Alzheimer's diagnosis presents many challenges. An estimated 70 percent of people with the disease live at home, and the responsibility of caring for them usually falls on their families, who frequently face - and dread - the unexpected and unknown.
While it may be impossible to predict behaviors exhibited by a person struggling with Alzheimer's, there are free resources available to help area families cope with whatever situation may arise.
"Many family care givers wake up every day with anxiety and fear because they don't know how a loved one with Alzheimer's will act or react," said Joe DeLauter, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving the central Susquehanna region, including Lycoming, Clinton, Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Union and Snyder counties.
"We have a network of support including free tools and materials available to help family care givers navigate the challenges that come with caring for someone with Alzheimer's," he said.
September is World Alzheimer's month, and the Home Instead Senior Care network is offering free resources to help local families who are living with Alzheimer's, including workshops where family members can receive a version of the same Alzheimer's CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education training program developed for the network's professional care givers.
The workshops will provide tips on solutions for the many common issues that arise when caring for someone with Alzheimer's will be offered from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 17 and 24 at Home Instead Senior Care, 130 Buffalo Road, Lewisburg, and 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 9 and Oct. 16 at 440 River Ave., Williamsport.
Also available is a free Confidence to Care at Home kit, an at-a-glance collection of information, tips and resources to help handle difficult situations, avoid household accidents, encourage engagement and prevent care giver stress that is designed so that any member of the household to reference any time they need it.
In addition, Home Instead Senior Care has developed Alzheimer's and Other Dementias Daily Helper, a free smart phone app that families can use to search behaviors and help find solutions when they have to react quickly to a situation.
The app, which will be available Sept. 16, is designed to help families manage issues as they arise, whether at home or in public.
"According to experts, Alzheimer's either is or may someday be a reality for about one-third of the families in our community," DeLauter said. "We want to replace their fears with a sense of confidence that they are equipped to handle any situation."
For more information about the Home Instead Senior Care network or its free Alzheimer's resources, go to the Home Instead Senior Care office or call 522-6533 or 866-522-6533.