Alzheimer’s is a disease that has a widespread impact.
According to the Georgia Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health program, in the United States, a person is diagnosed with the disease every 70 seconds and more than 5 million people live with it daily.
Lillian Simmons, a representative on the Coastal Regional Commission: Area Agency on Aging in Long County, has seen many friends succumb to the disease.
“It is one of those diseases that we all are affected by,” Simmons said. “Several of my friends who I grew up with and who I know and love have been affected by it. Some are still here, some have passed on. It’s a terrible disease.”
She added that Alzheimer’s affects more than just the victims. Caregivers of the victims need help as well.
The REACH program is for caregivers providing for a victim of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. According to Simmons, the program provides caregivers with an outreach to talk with caregivers who are going through some of the same emotional struggles that they are going through.
According to the REACH guide, the program is a six-month course, with the caregiver meeting with an interventionist/coach approximately 12 times. The coach and the caregiver decide what challenges are the most pressing and work out a course of action to find solutions.
Simmons said that in addition to the program being offered in Long County, several others are available to help the elderly and the disabled. She said that some services include house-cleaning assistance, legal advice and delivering meals.
Simmons said the programs are free.
“There are a lot of services like these and many more that are available. People just have to seek them,” she said.
For more information on services, call Amanda Perch at 262-2841 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Coastal Area Agency on Aging at 800-580-680 or the Long County Senior Citizens Center at 545-9508.