By Katy Siwirski

Alzheimer’s is a common form of dementia that affects the ability to retain memory and other cognitive abilities that causes interruptions with one’s daily life. Alzheimer’s differs from dementia in the sense that Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, whereas dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. Currently, there is not a cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are treatments that can temporarily slow down symptoms and improve the overall quality of life for victims and their families. It is a hard time to go through, but it is important to know that you are not going through it alone.

There are many support groups out there, including a 24/7 hotline to help those in need. Specifically in our area, there is an Alzheimer’s Association of Western New York Chapter that is a non-profit organization with programs and services made possible through contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations. There will also be a Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, September 15, 2018 at the Buffalo Outer Harbor. Join an existing team, make your own team, or make a donation today!

I spoke with a friend who has personal experience with family members who have suffered from this illness. “For those experiencing this illness directly, or knowing someone that is suffering, it can be a difficult journey. Having family members affected directly by this can take a traumatic toll on existing family members, and yourself. They are no longer subconsciously aware of their everyday activities, and need great assistance to still maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is a full time job in itself that it makes it hard to be there for them all the time. It is refreshing to know that there is still a type of community available for those who suffer from this, who can almost have their dignified lifestyles back. All of that depends on what level of progression they are in the disease. During the time that we lost our loved ones, there was not a solid program in place. I hope to see this program continue to grow with people who are certified in the health industry for loved ones, as we continue to find a cure.”

Alzheimer’s is a common form of dementia that affects the ability to retain memory and other cognitive abilities that causes interruptions with one’s daily life. When you are directly working with a family member that is suffering from the disease, it can be a difficult experience. With the right support and heart-felt dedication, you can make Alzheimer’s a less traumatic experience for the suffering family member and their surrounding family.

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