Archive for September, 2011

World Alzheimer’s Month

This month is World Alzheimer’s Month and the 21 specifically is World Alzheimer’s Day. Over 5 million people in the United Statesare currently living with Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. As awareness is recognized this month for patients with the disease, those giving hospice care to patients should be saluted as well.

For each person that is living with Alzheimer’s or Dementia,  there is likely to be multiple others working with that person in an effort to provide the total care that is necessary to fight the disease. Alzheimer’s patients often need great care from a hospice or caregiver, especially in the latter stages of the disease as Dementia start to have a greater affect.

Even though the month is winding down in the next week or so, there are still plenty of ways you can recognize and increase awareness of the disease. You can have a great impact by wearing purple a few times this month to spread the message of Alzheimer’s awareness. Also, supporters can have an impact on Facebook by changing their profile pictures to the End Alz icon created by the Alzheimer’s Association.

This year, supporters are trying to spread awareness of the different effects of dementia. The fact that Alzheimer’s can affect anyone of any race, both men and women of any status or background makes it a disease that people should be highly aware of. Alzheimer’s is a disease that can transform an elderly person who seems independent into a patient who is completely dependent on care giving for their daily activities. 

Locally, this is where the impact of a hospice can come in. In Houston, there are not only Alzheimer’s patients in need of a care giver, but also patients suffering from multiple other diseases. For many of the elderly living independently, their lives could change overnight. With the help of respite care, the elderly will be given the proper amount of diligence and care in a Houston apartment or home. They are cared for by a team of doctors, nurses, aides, social workers, therapists, a chaplain and volunteers.

As the month of September draws to a close, we should aim to increase the awareness of this impactful disease by spreading knowledge throughout World Alzheimer’s Month. The effort in these months of awareness has a great impact by informing thousands throughout the world about the importance of hospice and respite care.

This article was written by guest blogger Paige Taylor, a recent graduate from the University of Texas El Paso.

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Labor of Love

With the Labor Day Holiday approaching this weekend, I really want to take the time to examine what this holiday means. Basically, Labor Day was made an official holiday in 1894 to coincide with the labor movement. Everyone needs an extra day off from the stress of work, but when your job is a caretaker, it’s a different story.

Photo by Gianluca Neri from

This Labor Day, I want to encourage caretakers to take the whole day off from the responsibility of taking care of a sick loved one. I understand this is not an easy task to do and it may seem irresponsible, but I feel it is necessary to take a break.

For the most part, caretakers work harder than others. The majority of caretakers have multiple responsibilities that require the same amount of dedication and time. Imagine having the responsibility of a full-time job, children, a spouse as well as taking care of a sick loved one. The amount of stress and exhaustion that falls on the caretaker is tremendous and can cause serious health effects.

 Most caretakers push themselves too hard because they feel guilty if they are not giving 100% to all of their responsibilities. The guilt can cause caretakers to not take time off for themselves to relax and rest. Our bodies and minds need rest in order to function correctly. When we push ourselves to the maximum, we can cause harm to our bodies and our relationships can suffer.

 Caretakers, take Labor Day off. Ask a friend or relative for help and enjoy the day to relax. Your body and mind will thank you later. If you are alone and do not have anyone to reach out to, look into an adult daycare or a homecare nurse. Do not feel guilty about having a day to yourself. No matter what responsibilities and tasks we have, we are all still human and need a day to ourselves.

Friends or families of caretakers, encourage a day off for them. Volunteer to help and reassure caretakers that they deserve this day to themselves. Showing your support and enthusiasm will help ease the caretaker’s guilt and will give them a peace of mind.

When you’re a caretaker, you are a laborer of love. Your actions and decisions to provide care for a sick loved one all come from the heart. You deserve a day free from responsibilities to re-group and focus on your needs. Relax, rest and remember that having a healthy body, mind and attitude will allow you to be the best caretaker possible.

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