By Alzheimer’s Association Washington State Chapter
LYNNWOOD, WASH., JUNE 19, 2020 – In Washington State alone, there are 120,000 people age 65+ living with Alzheimer’s. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges for those impacted by dementia, especially for the unpaid family caregivers who support a loved one with the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association Washington State Chapter, based in Lynnwood, has stepped up to help by offering a variety of online and telephone support services during this time.
“Caregivers are being affected in so many different ways through this COVID-19 pandemic,” says Hazel Borden, who conducts community outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association in Snohomish County. “During these times of isolation, increased stress and additional communication barriers, we want families on the caregiving journey to know they can turn to the Alzheimer’s Association for support.”
Most of the Association’s 75+ support groups, which are usually held in-person, are now being offered online or by phone. Support groups provide people an opportunity to share personal experiences, feelings and coping strategies with others on a similar journey.
“Support groups can make a huge difference for caregivers by providing suggestions to address challenging behaviors, an opportunity for socialization, and a level of understanding only found amongst other caregivers in a safe and welcoming environment,” says Maria Anakotta, a care consultant who serves residents of Snohomish County as part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Care Connections program.
The community education program, which used to host live, in-person events throughout King and Snohomish Counties, has also adapted. Classes are now held online throughout the month, offering caregivers an opportunity to learn and ask questions about things like communication strategies, activities for people with dementia, as well as legal and financial planning.
Those looking for information, support or crisis assistance may also call the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 Helpline (1.800.272.3900) any time, day or night. The group’s website also offers an online support forum, ALZConnected, where people can ask questions, get advice and find support from their peers.
All of the Alzheimer’s Association’s services are free of charge and fully accessible from the safety and comfort of a person’s home. Borden adds, “You are not alone. The Alzheimer’s Association is here for you now more than ever!”
To learn more about available services, visit alzwa.org/covid19resources or call 1.800.272.3900.