Being the caregiver of an Alzheimer’s patient can be an overwhelming responsibility. Carol Adler, a UB resource analyst, knows this. Her mother, Barbara Adler, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1997. With her siblings both out of town, Carol took over her mother’s care. Yet, she’s the first to say that she wasn’t alone. The Alzheimer’s Association of Western New York was her partner.
“I couldn’t have gone through my mother’s illness and its advancing stages without them,” she says.
From support groups to instructional videos to counseling sessions, the Alzheimer’s Association, with its staff and clients, served as Carol’s companion and adviser as her mother’s disease progressed. With the organization’s help, Carol learned about important techniques and tools.
“You can’t get upset,” she says. “My mother would sometimes fail to recognize me, yet I knew how to deal with that and understood that it was the disease talking, not my mother.”
As a caregiver, Carol stresses the need for support. The Alzheimer’s Association has its staff of trained professionals, but it was beneficial being surrounded by people in similar situations. Stories from other caregivers, coping strategies and ideas for making loved ones safe and comfortable all came from her experience with the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Their extensive library is a great resource as well,” she adds. “My sister and brother weren’t involved in day-to-day care, but I always had book recommendations that helped them understand what our mother was going through.”
Her mother passed away in 2006, but Carol maintains ties with the organization, volunteering and doing what she can to make people aware of available resources, including leading her team, Barbara’s Legacy, in the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
She says the organization is dedicated to not only providing care, but continuing research that might one day eliminate Alzheimer’s disease.
“We have an aging population, people are living longer,” she says. “Many families are going to be touched by this disease.”
Carol says supporting the Alzheimer’s Association will help pay for services and provide the funding needed to move forward with research.
“I can’t imagine living in a community without an organization like the Alzheimer’s Association.”