TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Caring for a loved one with dementia can overwhelming.
Caregivers can find themselves feeling alone, isolated and depressed. ABC 27's Ava van Valen explained a resource that can help.
The African-American Alzheimer's Caregiver Training and Support Project (ACTS2) offers free support for caregivers and teaches them essential skills to make caring for their loved one easier.
"They feel alone and like they have to go through the situation by themselves, deserted," said Betty Roberts, a caregiver.
Betty Roberts is describing the feelings of so many caregivers out there. She knows first-hand because of her experience taking care of her husband. She, too, was overwhelmed and needed support.
"Caregiving is so much more than just watching someone," said Tomeka Northon-Brown, the project coordinator for ACTS2. "You may see them at the doctors but you have no idea about the two hours it took to get them bathed, get them dressed, get them in the car."
The ACTS 2 Project has been filling that need in Tallahassee for 13 years. The program specifically targets caregivers in the African American community.
"If we are experiencing distress, we are less likely to seek out the resources from those mental health experts because of the stigma attached to that," said Norton-Brown.
She says African-Americans are less likely to put loved ones in nursing homes.
Betty Roberts says the organization was there for her when she needed it.
"The physical strain the mental strain was taking a toll and I felt like I needed some help," said Roberts.
And she got that help.
"They know there is no judgment," said Norton-Brown. "They can come and talk about the things they are going through an get the help they need."
ACTS2 is a 12 session, phone-based program. To take part you have to be a relative caregiver, meaning loosely related to the loved one you are caring for, and you must be experiencing distress.
For more information, click here.