LUBBOCK, Texas — Last Saturday, the West Texas chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association hosted the 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s, raising nearly $85,000. In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, Heather Simmons, the manager of the walk, shared Monday how the community can support family caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
Sometimes the challenges may be as simple as reminding a loved one to eat a meal or asking them if they remembered to bathe, Simmons explained. Other times it’s the financial strain or the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s that can make getting the proper care difficult.
“A lot of people feel like they can’t go to their doctor, or they don’t want to admit that their memory may be slipping,” she said.
Simmons said there are in-person and online support groups in Lubbock for family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s.
Julie Gray, the director of development for the West Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, said the walk was a great way for the community to come together in support of those affected by this disease.
“This disease is so tough, and it’s absolutely devastating,” Gray said, explaining that the disease tears families apart. “We can show each other that we are not alone– you have lots of support– and together, we can do this.”
Despite the challenges that come with caregiving for a family member with Alzheimer’s, Simmons has stayed motivated.
“I saw a T-shirt, and it [said] ‘We remember our loved ones’ favorite songs and their memories and their favorite things,” she continued, “So that one day if they forget, we can still remember who they were and hold that in our hearts.”
Together, “we can keep caregiving and loving on our loved ones,” Gray shared, adding that she believes “we are going to end this disease.”
Simmons said the Alzheimer’s Association has a 24/7 help line to call if you need resources or support. You can reach the help line at 800-272-3900.