Caring 4 Your Family: Alzheimer’s in Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY (Good4Utah) – Each day the nearly three million in Utah are taking care of someone. Whether it is a loved one, friend or a stranger; Utahns care for each other. And while we do our best, there are resources available to make it easier to make a difference.

They call it the longest loss. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in our country and the only one of those that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed.

In Utah, 29,000 people have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but over 142,000 people are caregivers. Hundreds of thousands of people taking care of the person they are slowly loosing.

Kate Nederostek is the Program Director for the Alzheimer’s Association of Utah. She works with people who have Alzheimer’s and people who take care of those with the disease ever day.

Kate explained, “It definitely is a grieving process.  It is the longest loss. The journey can be 3 to 20 years as you say goodbye bit-by-bit to the person you have known for so long.”

It is a startling reality. A person you love; your father, mother, spouse or friend slowly fading away and forgetting who they are and who you are.

Ronnie Daniel, the Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association of Utah explained, “There is a lot of time regression. You become their parent in a lot of ways, which makes it even more challenging.”

As your role as caregiver takes over what your relationship used to be, you must now look at the future with a new outlook and a ‘new kind of love.’

Kate said, “You still love your family member, but it is a new love.”

While what is best for each family is individual, the most important thing the Alzheimer’s Association of Utah can provide is the knowledge no family is alone.

One way Kate and the association supplies support is with support groups. Each group is made up of people who are experiencing the same trials as each other.

Kate explained, “Everybody else around the table knows exactly what that person is going through.”

This is one of the major goals for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Ronnie Daniel explains, “We are here with our arms wide open providing support groups, consultations, our website and a helpline people can access if they have questions, a crisis or difficulties. There is help waiting for them.”

The goal is simple; nobody taking on the uphill battle of Alzheimer’s has to do it alone.

For more information on the resources the Alzheimer’s Association of Utah provides click here

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