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Online Resources for Caregivers of Alzheimer's Patients

May 10, 2010 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Education.org Columnist | 0 Comments

Being the caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s is not an easy job—and nobody should have to do it alone. However, whether you’re a sole caregiver or share the responsibilities with someone else, you may have limited access to support networks for this reason. And many caregivers—especially those who are doing it on their own, without help from other family members—have trouble leaving the house and searching out resources because of their care obligations.

Luckily, there is a wealth of resources available online that can help you cope with caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. These resources not only provide you with basic and more advanced information on the disease itself—they also give you tips for caregiving, how to deal with difficult situations and behaviors, and how to care for yourself. You can also find valuable tools for getting the community support you need; forums and online support groups for caregivers throughout the country; and information on in-person support groups and associations in your area. Here are a few websites that can provide you with a good start.

National Institute on Aging


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This website includes an overview of what Alzheimer’s is, its symptoms, treatment and care. Its main strength, however, is its focus on current research. You’ll also find a link to HBO Documentary Films’ The Alzheimer’s Project, which is a great resource on its own; while you can’t watch the film online, you can watch a supplemental series of episodes. The website contains further information on how Alzheimer’s changes the brain, as well as opportunities to create an online tribute to someone with Alzheimer’s .

Alzbrain.org

This site provides valuable information to people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. You’ll find information on how to prevent the disease, how to tell if you might have it, how to slow its progression, as well as information for caregivers and physicians. There’s also a directory of support groups with chapters throughout the country.

Online classes

Whether you plan to work with patients who have memory loss or are a family caregiver caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you can take online classes that will help you better care for Alzheimer’s patients. Some classes are specifically for professionals, but nonprofessional family members could also benefit from a class in caring for memory patients. Some of your options include classes on creating a calming environment, the basics of Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and handling challenging behaviors.

Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Resource Center

The Mayo Clinic is second to none when it comes to medical information about a broad range of diseases, including Alzheimer’s. You’ll find resources here on what the disease is, its diagnosis and both traditional and alternative remedies and therapies. You’ll also find information on how to prepare your home for an Alzheimer’s patient, support for caregivers, and links to personal stories about caregivers and patients with Alzheimer’s.

AlzOnline

AlzOnline is an online support group for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients. The website provides forums and discussion groups, a video series of caregiver interviews about their experience and tips on dealing with Alzheimer’s, online classes on everything from helping Alzheimer’s patients with basic needs to coping with grief. The site is available both in English and in Spanish.

The Alzheimer’s Association

This site provides in-depth information on Alzheimer’s as a disease, as well as its diagnosis and treatment. It also provides information on upcoming clinical studies, message boards for caregivers and patients, and links to helpful tools such as the Comfort Zone GPS locator service, MedicAlert and SafeReturn services, and a Senior Housing Finder that lets you seek out licensed care facilities in your area.

Alzheimer’s disease is not easy to deal with—for patients or caregivers. But you are not alone. Even if you live in an isolated area or have difficulty leaving the house because of your care obligations, you can find help and support online. Check out the web for the latest information on Alzheimer’s research, resources for caregivers and patients, and the support of others who are caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s. Through forums and message boards, Alzheimer’s support websites, and other online resources, you should be able to find help that makes the load a little lighter.

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