The Bridges Support Group meeting in May featured guest speaker, Dr. Humberto Dorta, MD, Director of Psychiatry at Meadville Medical Center’s Mind-Body Wellness Center. He received his medical degree from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and has been in practice for more than 20 years. The title of Dr. Dorta’s program was “Assessing Emotions, Depression and Medication Management.”
To begin, Dr. Dorta shared a history of Alzheimer’s disease related to the spectrum of dementia. Alzheimer’s is a specific disease related to plaque build-up in the brain versus the broader range of causes and symptoms of memory loss.
He explained to the group that the disease affects six million people and the three stages of Alzheimer’s are represented as mild, moderate, and severe. Though there is no cure, there are medications that can help. There was even discussion of waiting for medications to be used until it was a necessary action to take. It is important to speak with your loved one’s physician to see what options will work best for their diagnosis.
One point stressed by Dr. Dorta to the group was how important it is for those who care for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia to first care for themselves. If a caregiver is exhausted and feeling tired, they cannot provide the care that is needed for support. Everyone needs to find the time for enjoyment and activities of happiness. He also said it’s important to exercise the brain by doing as many cognitive activities as you can.
5 Tips to Help Prevent Caregiver Burnout and Fatigue
- Join a Support Group
- Ask for support and help when you need it.
- Plan for the future. Research Retirement Communities and Memory Support Facilities before a crisis occurs so you can pick what works best for you and your loved one.
- Take time for yourself whether it is visiting with friends, working on a favorite hobby or project.
- Eat healthy foods, exercise and even practice medication or breathing techniques. Meditation and breath-work are known to help reduce anxiety and stress.
If you caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or Dementia and feel like you’re all alone, Wesbury offers the Bridges Support Group meetings on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 2:30 p.m. both in-person. These meetings are for caregivers and offer a wealth of knowledge from others who have experienced or are currently experiencing some of the same struggles as you. Group discussions will provide insight and help you find the path that leads to solutions. For more information, phone Melissa Porter at 814-332-9238 or firstname.lastname@example.org.