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Jack Sisson's TBI Blog

A hug is duct tape for the soul.

During the six years that I've known Jack, I've come to understand the causes closest to his heart. One cause he's especially passionate about is getting help for caregivers. If you've spent any time on this site at all, you already know that Jack suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 1989, and he knows firsthand the tragic toll sometimes paid in caring for someone with such an injury. His own marriage eventually unraveled as a result of his accident.

According to HBO, which created a documentary series called The Alzheimer's Project, "There are currently 10 million Americans providing 8.5 billion hours of unpaid care to people with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias, according to an estimate from the Alzheimer's Association." One of the films is a 48-minute look at caregivers.
Alzheimer's can take a great toll on the physical and emotional well-being not just of the patient, but of the caregiver as well. "It's not uncommon for the caregiver to die before the patient. It's a 24/7 job and often the caregiver has no help. But it's a long haul, you can't live like that and survive. Caregivers must be able to find some respite..."
In Tallahassee, we are fortunate to have an organization also called "The Alzheimer's Project." According to their web site:
The Alzheimer's Project is a non-profit organization funded by grants and private donations. The Alzheimer's Project is dedicated to providing relief to the caregivers of persons suffering from Alzheimer's Disease or other memory impairments. ALL services available to the caregivers are provided FREE of charge.

The goal of the Alzheimer's Project is to keep caregivers healthier, both physically and emotionally, to prolong the abilities of caregivers, and to delay institutionalization of the patients.
From today's Tallahassee Democrat:
The Alzheimer's Project is a nonprofit organization that has been providing respite care for caregivers of Alzheimer's patients since 1991.

"We just want to help caregivers," [Recie Culpepper]said. "They're the ones who go all out 24/7 without a lot of rest."
In Tallahassee, we're lucky that at least two churches, St. Paul's United Methodist and Killearn United Methodist, have Alzheimer's Project programs in place.
The respite program at Killearn United Methodist Church opened in April. It's free and runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. the first and third Mondays of the month.

St. Paul's United Methodist, which initiated the program in 1991, has sessions each Friday. Other groups including some in outlying counties have varying schedules.

According to Bill Wertman, the director of the Alzheimer's Project, all a church has to provide is a large room, access to handicapped bathrooms and a small storage area and about three volunteers the day of the program. Providing food during lunch is encouraged, but not required. The Alzheimer's Project will provide everything else, including staff, programming, insurance and screening.
Caregivers are often "on duty" 24/7. They get no sick leave, vacation time or holidays. They often feel alone. That's why organizations like "The Alzheimer's Project" deserve our support... and why we need more organizations like them.

Read the entire article and visit the web page for The Alzheimer's Project in Tallahassee.

Also of interest: The national Alzheimer's Association has a Caregiver Stress Check for persons taking care of someone with a disabling condition like Alzheimer's (or TBI). They also offer this page of resources, well worth checking out.

TBI Film Reviews
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Traumatic Brain Injury Law Blog
Brain Blog
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Losing the Physical Self

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