Alzheimer's Texas and the Caretakers of People with Alzheimer's

We had the pleasure to speak with Taylor Minks regarding available resources for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and related dementias as well as support for their caregivers. Taylor is the Advancement Specialist of Alzheimer's Texas, a non-profit serving individuals, families, and caregivers of Alzheimer’s in Central Texas since 1982. Their programs include a 24/7 helpline, consultations, education, training, early stage support, caregiver support, and community respite development. 

Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that impairs behavior, memory, thinking, and overall daily tasks of living; accounting for 70% of all dementias. An estimated 390,000+ Texas have a form of Alzheimer’s or dementia and that number is expected to grow. Taylor explained that the cause of the disease is unknown: “No one knows how or why some people get it and others don’t.” However, a family history of the disease could increase the risk as well as lifestyle and environmental factors. The prognosis is unfortunately terminal. But on average, a person with Alzheimer's lives four to eight years after diagnosis, some live as long as twenty years. Currently, there is no cure for the disease, but medications and management strategies can improve symptoms. Moreover, organizations such as Alzheimer’s Texas can help by providing information, referrals, and a variety of support programs for those with Alzheimer’s and related dementias, and their family members, caregivers, and professionals. 

How is Alzheimer’s Texas helping those with the disease as well as the families and caretakers of those with Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s Texas helps from early diagnosis throughout the life span of the disease. They provide free information, assistance, and support to help those with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Their free help line is available 24/7 to provide guidance whether you are a caregiver, person with dementia, professional, or member of the general public. You can call them anytime at (512) 241-0420 or toll-free at (800) 367- 2132. They can also be reached via email at TXPrograms@txalz.org. Alzheimer’s Texas also offers free care consultations with a Certified Consultant, Trainer and Dementia Coach, as well as memory screenings, education programs, caregiver and early stage support groups, respite care, and caregiver resources from 1,000s of different resources and videos on caregiving techniques and information written by nurses and professionals. In the video below we asked what Alzheimer’s Texas does specifically for the caretakers of those with Alzheimer’s. 

The Glass is Half Full

When we asked Taylor what advice she would give a caretaker of someone with Alzheimer’s, she answered she would say to them:

“You are Not Alone.”

Alzheimer’s and dementias are very unique, according to the individuals, disease type, stage, amount of support, etc. And as a caregiver “you are doing a good job” she added, and you are appreciated even though you may not always be thanked for your support. Regarding Alzheimer’s, the glass is half full. We should always try to remain optimistic or hopeful that our loved ones will still enjoy their lives at the best of their and our abilities.

Taylor goes on to say what you’re experiencing as a caregiver of someone with Alzheimer’s, someone else has probably experienced similar feelings and issues regarding the effects of the disease and related dementias… Alzheimer’s Texas is here to provide helpful support, guidance, and resources, so don’t hesitate to reach out to seek help. “We’re just here to help,” Taylor says, 100% of Alzheimer’s Texas’ funding stays in Central Texas and all programs and services are free of charge.

Can you give your best example of the way you’ve seen Alzheimer’s Texas’ work make a difference? Is there a particular moment or memory that stands out for you?

Alzheimer’s Texas has 5 walks throughout Central Texas every year. “I love the community that the walk brings together,” Taylor says. “From toddlers to elderly adults who are in attendance, everybody has the same camaraderie about them.” They either have a loved one with Alzheimer’s, know someone who has a loved one, or have lost a loved one to the disease. “It’s nice to see everyone come together, share their stories, have a remembrance, and walk for a good cause. It’s very uplighting for what you think it would be.” Join the next Alzheimer's Texas Walk near you to support families currently facing the disease, honor those we have lost, and support the mission of Alzheimer's Texas.

What resources do you believe caregivers need the most? 

Taylor believes respite care and groups are great resources to take advantage of when a caretaker needs to attend their other responsibilities and/or practice much needed self-care. Alzheimer’s caregivers also need emotional support as well as help with the daily chores and tasks that can add more stress to those caring for themselves and their loved ones.

While Alzheimer's Texas can provide the much needed emotional support and resources for the persons with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, KikuPal can help with the household responsibilities of house cleaning, lawn care, meals, rides, and more. KikuPal can help support both caregivers, partners, and persons throughout the dementia journey. It truly does take a village!

Jessica MartinsenComment