Oct 27, 2010

Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support: Is it Easier to Find Help From Friends or Family?

By Max Wallack
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Again and again, we hear about family members deserting the Alzheimer’s caregiver. The support group that I wrote about recently included both family and friends in their support group meetings. They were having very successful results.

I was thinking about why family members seem to desert caregivers. Perhaps it’s because we expect them to help. Instead of being made to feel very appreciated when they do help, they go away feeling guilty, instead, when they see the reality of the situation. They get no self-fulfillment in helping. On the contrary, they are often chastised for doing so little. All they get is a cruel dose of reality. It’s easier to hide.

On the other hand, friends are never “expected” to help. Everything they do is greatly appreciated. They aren’t made to feel that they should really be doing much more. There is no sense of guilt. They don’t “have to” help. They do it out of the goodness of their heart, and everyone commends them for their contribution.

I know there are many family members out there that are not doing their just part. I wanted to suggest that we go out of our way to commend those that give occasional help, and maybe we’ll find them more willing to help more often.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Original content Max Wallack, the Alzheimer's Reading Room