Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most heartbreaking ways to lose a loved one. Instead of seeing husbands, wives, parents or grandparents enjoy their golden years, caregivers often see their loved ones forget their names and faces. Joyous memories become one-sided as recognition and memory fade.
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible form of dementia that damages and destroys brain cells, leading to altered thinking and memory loss. It typically first appears when patients are in their mid-60s, although with early onset Alzheimer’s, it can begin earlier. Though scientists have found new ways to treat some Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, there is still no cure. The disease remains a mystery while the number of patients grows with the years. Fortunately, organizations like New York’s CaringKind support caregivers in the midst of their difficulties.
Formerly a chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, CaringKind is now a stand-alone charity that provides free information, tools and training to help support those whose loved ones develop Alzheimer’s or dementia. The organization offers support groups, counseling, education and training seminars, early stages services, a wanderer’s safety program and a 24-hour helpline staffed by professionals.
“At CaringKind, we see people, not a disease,” Lou-Ellen Barkan, president and CEO of CaringKind, said in a press release. “We understand that one caregiver’s experience is not like any other. And we help individuals and families affected by a dementia diagnosis find the right path to best meet their unique needs. From that first call to our 24-hour helpline, our trained professionals offer the guidance caregivers need, when they need it, to make each day a little bit brighter.”
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, it kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Professionals estimate that more than 5 million people live with Alzheimer’s in the United States and one in three seniors develops the disease.
“In the absence of a cure and effective therapies, good care is the best medicine we have,” Barkan said. “At CaringKind it is our responsibility to create the kind of innovative and compassionate support services that our caregivers deserve and our families need.”
To learn more about this charity and to support its work, please visit CaringKindNYC.org.