On March the 6th, the Greek Federation of Alzheimer’s Associations and Alzheimer’s Disease International launched a brand new Help for Caregivers booklet. Sponsored by The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, the Help for Caregivers booklet is designed to provide advice and guidance to thousands of caregivers looking after people with Alzheimer’s disease.
The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation has funded the provision of 10,000 Help for Caregivers booklets. These booklets will be given out for free and will provide a huge amount of help and advice about all aspects of Alzheimer’s care. Henrietta, Marianna, Margarita and Spiro Latsis, who make up the supervisory board of The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, are hoping that the booklets’ influence will spread even further. While the initial 10,000 copies are all written in Greek, The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation intend to release English language versions to help support caregivers outside of Greece.
It is hoped that the publicity and public conversation created by the project will engage and help people gain an awareness and understanding of Alzheimer’s disease. Here are just four ways that the Help for Caregivers booklet is likely to benefit both those with Alzheimer’s, and the people who care for them:
Around the world there are an estimated 47.5 million people with dementia. As populations grow and age, this figure is expected to increase dramatically, meaning that by 2030 there could be as many as 75.6 million dementia patients globally. With such a high number of individuals affected, it is likely that dementia will now touch all of our lives in some form. The global presence of the disease is one reason why it is essential to improve awareness. With more knowledge about Alzheimer’s, people will be able spot the symptoms of the disease earlier and be empowered to request help. Educating the public about the effects of the condition will also contribute to an improved understanding of the symptoms and behaviour of those with dementia and help dispel misconceptions surrounding it.
Raising the public profile of Alzheimer’s may contribute to an increase in charitable donations to dementia care and research charities.
Day to Day Advice
As well as explaining the scientific aspects of the disease and medical terminology, the Help for Caregivers booklet provides advice about domestic care. The nature of caring for a dementia patient means it is a round the clock responsibility. So, the Help for Caregivers booklet has sections regarding every day activities, like cooking and washing, even maintaining a sense of humour.
Something as simple as cooking can become difficult for dementia patients. So the Help for Caregivers booklet suggests things like labelling kitchen cupboards and draws, or leaving simple guides to using a microwave. Maintaining a level of independence is important for people with dementia and by accommodating them, carers can improve their quality of life.
The booklet also offers guidance about improving and maintaining communication. Just chatting in a calm and pressure-free manner about their interests or the garden can be a great way to relieve stress. The Help for Caregivers booklet advises carers that maintaining a sense of humour, and laughing with each other, is one of the best ways to deal with the daily difficulties.
Help Caregivers Find Help
Providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s can be emotionally draining and may leave caregivers depressed and feeling isolated. Nearly 40% of caregivers have reported symptoms of depression. Stress is known to aggravate pre-existing health problems, and many carers neglect to make their own health a priority.
As well as the health impact for caregivers, the full time nature of caring can have a major financial impact. More than one in six dementia caregivers have had to give up work altogether to look after loved ones, and many others have to cut down their working hours. Caregivers around the world are currently providing an estimated 18.1 billion hours of care for no pay at all.
Thankfully, there is support out there to help ease the burden on caregivers. The Help for Caregivers booklet provides detailed information about psychological support groups and health professionals. The booklet directs people to appropriate organisations, like Alzheimer’s Disease International, which can help them to find more localised help and support.
Alongside the memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease can cause confusion, communication problems, and mood swings. Put together, these symptoms make caring for someone with Alzheimer’s particularly isolating. During the booklet’s launch event, one caregiver described how reassuring a booklet like Help for Caregivers can be. She explained how she keeps the booklet on her bedside table so that every night she could just check it for find reassurance. She noted how, for more isolated rural communities which don not have access to extensive support networks, the Help for Caregiver booklet could provide some much needed comfort.
Thanks to the hard work of the experts at the Greek Federation of Alzheimer’s Associations and Alzheimer’s Disease International, more people than ever before will get the opportunity to learn about dementia care. There’s no doubt that the invaluable information in the Help for Caregivers booklet funded by The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation will make life easier for thousands of people affected by dementia.