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How Alzheimer’s Caregivers Cope

All this week, WBUR has featured a special series called “Fade to Darkness: The Age of Alzheimer’s.”

More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s. But in reality, the disease touches three times as many people, in the form of 15 million unpaid caregivers. They are the friends and family and volunteers helping Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers.

Today, we focus on them.



Other stories from this show:

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  • Victoria

    Hi There,

    My father has Alzheimers, and he had long term care insurance that he purchased in the early 90′s. According to our family lawyer, and several stories on NPR, standard long term care insurance is NO LONGER AVAILABLE.  There may still be some stripped down plan around, that are very expensive but because of the actuarial tables  projecting baby boomer cost, it is a thing of the past.  I think it is important that you discuss this as a followup.


  • Ann Kane

    I didn’t catch the whole series but what I heard was excellent.  My mom had Alzheimer’s and my dad had vascular dementia.  As an only child, I was charged with all fronts of caregiving – physical, legal, medical.  A few insights I can offer – first, don’t rush to accept the Alheimer’s diagnosis – be sure the doctor rules out medical conditions that can mimic Alzheimer’s – hyperparathyroidism in just one, depression is another - secondly, once the Alzheimer’s diagnosis is confirmed, find out about all community services that can help you in day to day care and check out nursing homes.  Find one you like and get your loved one’s name on the waiting list.  Should the time come that placement is unavoidable, you want your loved one placed in a home of your choosing.  You can always say no, we’re not ready yet.  And, make your presence known. You MUST advocate, advocate, advocate for your loved one in a hospital or nursing home.  Finally, it always comes last for caregivers but it is NOT least.  Make the effort to take care of yourself.  You are important.

    While my dad was living with me, I started writing to “vent”.  It started out with my telling my girlfriend, “you won’t believe what he did today”… and she responding, “Oh, Annie, you gotta write these down!”  My writing took on a narrative form filled with humor, sentiment, compassion and enlightment and became a catharsis for me.  I am looking for a venue to share our story.  Any suggestions?  Feel free to email me at annkane7@comcast.net.

  • Pat B

    I’ve been catching up on this series.  Excellent work.  I can see why WBUR won the Edward R Murrow award.   My mother died of vascular dementia five years ago.  Her actual loss has been easier to accept than the painful witnessing of her mental decline as I was her primary caregiver.  Thank you for looking in depth at this coming epidemic.  We need to do so much more or we will all become part of Alzheimer gridlock.

    • Hilsen28

      My husband has Vascular Dementia.  I have had no contact with any one with this.  It is always Alzheimers or parkinsons.  I know they are related.  I am doubting the need for his memory meds since now they say it does not make a diference.  Why take if not helping.  Any thing to say to this?

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