As I get older and as my parents get older, I think more about who will care for all of us in our old age. My dad was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's over a year ago, and while he still functions quite normally for his age besides the occasional forgetfulness and absent mindedness, I can't help but worry if the day ever comes that the full impact of this disease hits him.
Alzheimer's is a family disease. It does not just affect the person afflicted, it affects the whole family especially the care giver. There have been cases where the patient outlived their caregivers. Caring for someone requires a lot of patience, energy and compassion. If you aren't vigilant, it could be really stressful. And stress is the gateway to many ailments, some of them a lot worse than Alzheimer.
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is a great resource for people who are afflicted with this condition and their caregivers. Their mission is "To provide optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families—through member organizations dedicated to improving quality of life." They state, "no one should face this disease alone".
On their website, you can learn more about the disease and how to handle it; you can learn about ongoing clinical trials; and if you are a care giver, they have CARE Connection which is tailored specifically to address the needs of the caregiver. CARE Central, another service of AFA, is an online community where you, as a care giver, can provide updates for friends and relatives about your patient; and where you can also find support from care givers like you when the going gets tough.
You can help this worthy cause by doing some of your holiday shopping from their eStore. There is a beautiful 'Hearts of Care' jewelry that would be a perfect holiday gift. Proceeds from the sale of their products help support the many programs and services offered by the AFA.