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Support and Hope for Caregivers

The Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center provides caregivers with the tools they need to successfully communicate and care for a loved one living with the illness.

Support and Hope for Caregivers

As the chief of operations for the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center, Edith Gendron spins many plates. While she provides services for the center’s primary clientele, which is the at-home caregiver, she also works to develop programs with the State of Florida Brain Bank Research Study and collaborate with other community entities.

Courtesy of Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center

ADRC’s mission is to be a resource for caregivers as they face one of the toughest jobs they will ever have. This includes offering support groups, single-topic workshops and six-week, evidence-based training to give caregivers the tools they need to help them control what’s going on in their world.

“We view it as being out of control, and it is, but there are a lot of things in our environment that are within our control,” Gendron says. “We give them the tools they need to be more confident, peaceful and to seek joy in this journey. There is joy here, it’s just a different perspective to seek it out.”

ADRC not only teaches caregivers to be more confident in their skills but also provides a greater understanding of the illness. Showing a caregiver how to mitigate the severity of symptoms through music, awareness of nutrition and the way that they communication with their loved one can change their whole situation for the better. Gendron guides them through learning each piece of the puzzle, and when she sees them have a breakthrough, it makes it all worthwhile.

“You shed tears almost every day,” she says. “Even me, who truly thinks that there’s some how a greater message that we’re still not getting with these diseases. I can just be reduced to a sobbing mess watching what happens to someone.”

Gendron says she counter balances that with the fact that she’s working with a magnificent person who has contributed so much to the community. It’s important for her and for the caregivers she works with to look for new meaning and a new perspective as the illness progresses.

She shares the story of a man living with the illness who helped to boost her confidence when she was feeling uncomfortable. As Gendron prepared for someone to take her photo, she expressed how horrible she thought she looked. The man stopped her, put up his hand and told her she looked just fine.

“That’s the beauty,” she says. “In my distress, someone with an illness that’s supposed to take them away saw my distress and did something about it. He gave me a gift. That’s what I try hard to give our caregivers.”

If you’re in need of assistance or support, consider these free caregiver workshops presented by the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Center.

Fridays

May 10 – June 14

Savvy Caregiver Series

10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

May 28

When Words Don’t Work

1-3 p.m.

Venue:

One Senior Place

715 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714

For more information and to register, email edith@adrccares.org or visit ADRCCares.org

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Lyndsay Fogarty Lyndsay Fogarty has had many roles at Central Florida Lifestyle, working her way from intern to contributing writer to managing editor. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication where she earned her degree in journalism. Along the way, she has learned that teamwork and dedication to your craft will get you far, and a positive outlook on the present will get you even farther.

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