For Ohio’s 604,000 Alzheimer’s caregivers, the state’s stay at home order to address the COVID-19 pandemic has separated families from loved ones in nursing facilities and further isolated some at-home caregivers.
Devastated. Heartbroken. Stressed. Lonely. Tired. Those are the sentiments we hear caregivers express.
For example, Becki Bickett did a lot of personal care for her mother, who lives in a skilled nursing facility. Between Bickett and her sister, they visited every day – cutting their mother’s hair, making sure she brushed her teeth, painting her nails – actions all meant to shower love on their mother.
To not be able to touch her right now, is just unbearable, Bickett said. “It just breaks our heart because we don’t know what she is thinking.”
The caregiver support resources that the Alzheimer’s Association provides to Ohioans is a lifeline for thousands, especially during this time of uncertainty and isolation. Our around-the-clock resources – like our Helpline at 800-272-3900 and the wealth of information at alz.org – are designed to deliver the information people need while they are in their homes. Because of grants and the fundraising efforts of our communities, our support services are free of charge.
Like many businesses, the Alzheimer’s Association quickly switched our face-to-face operations to virtual service platforms. Every day, staff at the Ohio Alzheimer’s Association is answering questions, leading telephone support groups, delivering educational programs through video conferencing, consulting with families to build the best care plan for their loved one and providing care advice. If you contact the Alzheimer’s Association, you can access:
· 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900 – This around-the-clock resource is answered by trained specialists.
· Telephone care consultations – Let our staff build a care plan tailored to your family’s needs.
· Telephone support groups – Talk with other caregivers who understand what you are going through.
· Virtual education programs- Learn about the stages of Alzheimer’s disease and how to handle behaviors through a videoconferencing experience.
We continue to pursue our mission with passion and compassion. As the leading voice for Alzheimer’s advocacy in the state of Ohio, the Association also advocates and provides support for Ohio’s 220,000 individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease.
We thank Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted for their leadership during this pandemic. Since one of our goals is educating the public, the Association has committed to helping Governor DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, communicate the necessary public health steps that our communities must take to flatten the curve of this virus.
We know there are hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who could use our free services. Help us reach those Ohioans who need us during this critical time. Tell someone about the Alzheimer’s Association or give them the Helpline number. If you need support, we are here for you also. Call our 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900.
Eric VanVlymen is Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter.