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How to Build Your Own Alzheimer's Support Network

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Updated: December 21, 2005

6 Tips for Building and Maintaining an Effective Caregiver Support System

Family
The most obvious place to start. Family members can be recruited for any number of things. Social support is really important. Some family members may be best at coming over for a coffee and chat and some only feel they are helping if there's things to do. The point is to try and use the skills of the family to everyone's advantage. So while some are happy to collect shopping others might be able to take over for a day just once in a while.

Friends & Neighbors
Friendships need to be nurtured so if you become too preoccupied with caregiving and being on 'caregiver standby', your friendships may suffer. Friends can be a real asset and they may be perfectly happy to help you with tasks such as cooking or doing some ironing while you see to the bath. You need to strike a balance with friends so keep this in mind. While it may sometimes appear an effort to maintain relationships there are often dividends to be had that may not seem so obvious - until you lose contact.

Community Services
Get hold of the local newspaper to see who offers what. You may find volunteer networks, handymen and services you hadn't previously thought of that could help your particular needs. Most larger towns and cities have their own websites. You may find a place to post free ads for volunteer help or services.

Websites
The fact that you are reading this means you are already using the net to your advantage. You might also want to check out eldercare locator who offer a service to link those who need assistance with state and local area agencies on aging and community-based organizations. Type the word Alzheimer's in the search engine and the 'big players' tend to occupy the top rankings.

Find your local Chapter
Local support in the form of Chapters are available in many countries. Find your local chapter on this site.

Respite
Respite provides alternate care for a person with dementia in order to give their caregiver some time away from their caring role. Respite can often be undertaken in your own home, or day centers, or a residential facility. To find out out respite care speak to people in your local chapter, or your local doctor or social services.

December 2005

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