Maria Gonzalez left Mexico twenty-six years ago. “We moved here in search of a better life, like everyone else,” said Maria. “Now my mother is sick, and we’re able to help her.” Maria is one of the more than 350,000 people who serve as unpaid caregivers in Washington State and Northern Idaho. Maria’s story exemplifies the difficulties families face as they help loved ones live through a disease that still has no cure. More than 120,000 people have Alzheimer’s disease in Washington and Northern Idaho. “It’s important that my community knows about the resources available,” said Maria. “Caregiving is impossible alone.”
One of the resources Maria found useful was the Alzheimer’s Association Care Connections Program. In her home, Maria met with care consultant Janelle Jensen to learn more about the disease and to prepare a long-term care plan. “What motivates me as a care consultant is the opportunity to offer support in a really scary time,” said Janelle. “I want to help them; let them know they’re not alone in this disease journey and connect them with others through support groups and education events.” The goal of the care connections program is to empower people. “I meet people where they’re at, assess and offer support. Then I follow up through phone calls after that in-home meeting.”
November is National Caregiver Month as well as National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. The Alzheimer’s Association is available and prepared to support you. Find help with one phone call to 1.800.272.3900 and ask for a follow up from your local chapter. No one should walk this journey alone.