The Alzheimer's Association has named the Summer Solstice, June 20, 2016, as a day to honor Alzheimer's caregivers. They say they use the day as an analogy of caring for someone with Alzheimer's as a persistent, exhausting effort that needs to be respected and honored.
"When I started this journey, I had no idea what the steps were going to be," said Roger Baker, whose mother now lives at Touchmark at Meadow Lake Village. They initially got her into assisted living quarters around 13 years ago. "And I had no idea what this season of this journey was going to be like."
Across the U.S., people are making a point of honoring caregivers today. At the Touchmark at Meadow Lake Village, they emptied the secured facility to symbolize the world they would like to exist -- where seniors would just be outside, enjoying warm sunshine, without having to be in a secured facility due to dementia. They also hosted an outdoor lunch and released purple balloons with hopes of a better future for both caregivers and Alzheimer's patients alike.
"You become as much a health risk as the patient is, in some cases. It will literally kill the person that's trying to take care of someone else. Don't take that burden on yourself," says J. Bates of KIVI-TV, who is also Advisory Board Member of the Alzheimer's Association. Bates advises people to ask for help from the Alzheimer's Association.