Alzheimer's caregivers need support

In the Feb. 6 Augusta Chronicle, Kathy Tuckey wrote a compelling piece ("Remember the 'Gipper' in Alzheimer's fight") urging support for Alzheimer's disease. There is more needed in addition to this support.

 

The facilities from which this very devoted staff operates on Central Avenue are woefully inadequate to serve those in the area suffering from this ailment. Space for support groups and training is limited to eight to 10 people, and when other space is used classes spill into the hallways. Parking is available only for, at best, six cars.

One can read I Remember Better When I Paint, by Eric Ellna and Berna Huebner; Brain Views, by Harold Nash; or I'm Still Here, by John Zeisel to realize that, although Alzheimer's patients cannot hope to get radiation or chemotherapy or travel to high-powered clinics in hope of arresting their disease, there is hope of better use of their existing brain capacity to make up for that which is being lost. As Mrs. Tuckey states, help is not even on the horizon.

As a caregiver, I can testify that these opportunities can result in providing improved lifestyles and positive reinforcement for those with severe dementia and the onset of Alzheimer's. Currently a powerful ongoing program in caregiving is limited to 10 participants because of space; even then the facilitators teach from the hallway.

Surely in a community that can give so much time and money to the study of building a baseball park, support for a hockey team and closing a street for the "comfort and happiness" of medical students can find a way to provide new space for those inflicted with Alzheimer's. Space in the new Kroc Center? The old library?

I pray that worthy local trusts and foundations will take up this urgent task. Many willing hands await. It should not be a matter of who will do this, but of who will speak up first.

Fred Johnson

North Augusta, S.C.

Remember the 'Gipper' in Alzheimer's fight

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