Alzheimer support groups-Family meetings on remembering and forgettingCategory: Health Issue No. 143
According to the statistics, 105,000 men and women in Israel suffer from dementia and the numbers are forecasted to rise to 120,000 in 2020. When we consider the relatives and friends of these people, then dementia will have large personal, financial and social impact on many members of our society.
It is an illness with many implications on the person’s ability to cope, but also on one’s self-perception and relationships with others.
There are support groups for people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.
There are two established Hebrew speaking groups, and five more are starting in the near future.
We all know that Alzheimer’s has a stigma and that many times friends and even family members avoid any contact with the patients and their immediate families who are often left alone to struggle with the situation.
Participation in these support groups provides a family-like atmosphere. The meetings give a forum to talk freely about feelings and problems. In addition, the participants are given tools to cope with the crisis while learning from each other’s experiences. We can hear them say: “this is the only place we can be honest and free to say what we think” or “you are our family”.
This becomes even more significant for people where Hebrew is not their first language. People with dementia feel more confident expressing themselves in their mother tongue. There may be additional technical difficulties to obtain all of the proper services that are in the community.
Being in Israel sometimes means that important parts of the familiar and social network are not as close at hand as one would wish for at times like this. The group is an opportunity to create another support network.
For updated information contact the Alzheimer Association of Israel (EMDA)