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There are more people in the country with Alzheimer’s disease than there are Kentucky residents.
The Alzheimer’s Association office in Louisville plans to help some of the 15 million unpaid caregivers with a presentation Thursday about what to expect from the disease.
The presentation, called “Living with Alzheimer’s for caregivers: Early stage,” is the first of a three-part series aimed at helping families and friends affected by the disease know what to expect physically, emotionally and financially.
It is from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday at Pritchard Community Center on South Mulberry Street in Elizabethtown. The event is open to the public and is free, although officials encourage a $5 donation.
The presentation is expected to include common symptoms and behaviors seen early on and how to address them, financial and legal issues they might face and how to build an effective care team.
Sheroll Carby, community education coordinator for the Louisville office, said it’s fine if she doesn’t get through all of her planned talking points because the session is meant to include conversations about issues area residents face.
“I just want to make sure everyone leaves with their questions answered,” she said.
Care arrangements need to be made as soon as possible because the person with the disease eventually will not be able to make decisions and will require constant supervision, Carby said.
Caregiving can be especially hard for family members because the experience is so emotional, she said.
A session is planned for February to discuss the middle stage of the disease, and one is scheduled for March to talk about the late stage.
Knowing what likely will happen helps caregivers prepare and understand the physical changes going on in the brain that can cause altered personality, mood and reasoning, Carby said.
“We really feel like there is a need out there for the information,” she said.
Caregivers have a 50 percent chance of dying before the people they’re caring for because of stress, Carby said.
“That’s why it’s important to stay connected with others and take care of themselves,” she said.
An effective way to do that is to seek help, such as that offered by support groups in the county, as well as expert advice, she said.
To talk about the disease or obtain information about Alzheimer’s-related resources in the area, call the association’s 24-hour help line at 1 (800) 272-3900.
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or email@example.com.