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More than 800,000 caregivers in Florida assist patients with Alzheimer's Disease

Posted at 3:30 PM, Mar 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-16 15:30:07-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Jeff Ryan was in the prime of his career when he got diagnosed with Alzheimer's five years ago. Since then, his wife Cindy has taken on the role of caregiver.

"You just really don't expect someone so young to have that and I just thought it was a midlife crisis or something," Cindy Ryan said.

Since the diagnosis she's utilized local resources through the Alzheimer's Association like their caregiver course, support groups, and more.

"I utilize their respite program which has been really great for him to be outside the house and have social interactions with other people because he's an extrovert and he enjoys talking to people," Cindy said.

Even with helpful resources Ryan says being a caregiver to her husband can be very stressful.

"It's a lot as far as dressing, bathing, getting them up, changing them, it's a lot," Cindy said.

ABC 27 checked with the Alzheimer's Association in Florida and 66 percent of caregivers reported having at least one chronic condition.

"We also see that 29 percent of Florida caregivers are self reporting depression, and 14 percent of Florida caregivers are self reporting that they're in poor physical health themselves," Katie Fahrenbruch, director of community engagement for the Florida chapters of the Alzheimer's Association said.

Fahrenbruch added if you know your neighbor is a caregiver find ways to help them without them asking.

"If you see your neighbor and your neighbor is caring for a loved one at home and their grass is getting a little long say hey you know what I'm mowing my grass today, I'm going to mow your grass too," Fahrenbruch said.

And Cindy's advice if you are a caregiver, "Take a little time out for yourself because you can't help someone else out if your energy is low and you're not healthy so the most important thing would be to take care of yourself because that will help you take care of your loved one."

Resources are available by calling the Alzheimer's Association 24 hours a day help line number at 1-800-272-3900.