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Letters to the Editor
 

Being aware of Alzheimer’s


Joanette Clipson February 10th, 2011

This week is Alzheimer’s and Dementia Awareness Week, and a time to recognize the over 74,000 people in Oklahoma living with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that causes a severe loss of memory, difficulty completing tasks and changes in behavior. As a loved one declines they may forget childhood memories or names of family members, and may lash out in anger and confusion. For more than 126,000 caregivers in Oklahoma, these changes can feel like losing the person they knew, over and over again.    

It’s normal to feel a sense of grief when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. From abandonment to guilt and anger, caregivers experience a range of emotions around a disease that slowly takes away their grandparent, parent, spouse or friend.

As a caregiver, it’s important to accept that the progression of the disease is beyond your control. Focus on the positive memories you share with the person: a holiday tradition, trip to the beach or laughing at a movie. And remember, there are thousands of people in your area who are facing the same challenge.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Talk with a close friend or family about your feelings. Connect with other caregivers in community support groups. Sharing your emotions will help you come to terms with the disease and provide better care for your loved one.

—Joanette Clipson
Bereavement Coordinator
Crossroads Hospice
Oklahoma City

 
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