Q&A With Alzheimer’s Orange County

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November is National Family Caregivers Awareness Month. Hear from one of Orange County’s voices in the community for caregivers and their loved ones.

To help raise awareness of the issues facing caregivers during National Family Caregivers Month, Avanir sat down with Alzheimer’s Orange County (AlzOC) vice president of outreach and advocacy, Patty Barnett Mouton. Since 1982, AlzOC has been Orange County’s center for Alzheimer’s resources. Their mission is “to serve Orange County individuals with memory loss, frail seniors and those that support them.”

 

About Patty Barnett Mouton, MSGc

Mouton is the ‘voice-in-the-community,’ leading an experienced team of professionals in educating the community and advocating on behalf of Alzheimer’s Orange County. She guides and mentors her staff, ensuring that Orange County’s elected officials, physicians, healthcare and senior care professionals, as well as spiritual leaders, are well versed on the growing need for enhanced elder care. This is especially important as it pertains to those affected by Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Additionally, she is an expert in the field of End of Life and palliative care.

 

Question: How does AlzOC support caregivers, and what types of resources are available?

Because we know the toll that caregiving can have on the supporters, we pride ourselves on having a large suite of services available to support caregivers, starting with our Helpline, staffed by Licensed Clinical Social Workers, where questions can be answered and information on referral services and connection to community resources can be found. There are also many free classes and workshops available through our family educational programs.

I’m especially proud of our specialized caregiving training through our SAVVY Caregiver Express program. This program provides education and important skill building training focused on enhancing the quality of life for the family’s loved one. There are many additional services available for caregivers including support groups, Healthy Aging Centers, where vulnerable older adults can be cared for during the day, and even personalized guidance through family care consultations.

I encourage anyone who is a caregiver to check out all our resources at the ALZOC website.

 

Question: What tips would you give someone who is a new caregiver for a family member with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)?

The number one thing I recommend to new family caregivers is to remember to take care of yourself. We have all heard that it’s important to ‘put your own oxygen mask on first’ and this holds very true as a caregiver. It is easy to get consumed by the day-to-day needs and challenges that are part of taking care of your loved one that your own needs can quickly fall by the wayside. It is important to take care of yourself by developing a support system and leaning into family or friends to help you at home and provide a few hours of respite.

Remember that if your cup is empty, it will be very difficult to provide the support for your loved one.

 

Question: Besides the ALZOC website, are there other important resources you think would help caregivers?

Yes! Caregiving Tips provides practical information about taking care of your loved one as well as many ideas about how to care for yourself 

and cope with the emotions and stress that come with being a caregiver.

 

Question: From a caregiver perspective, what do you find most exciting about the future of AD research?

That is a great question! From the caregiver perspective, I find so many things exciting about the future of AD research. We recently issued a monthly round up of the latest news regarding AD. New clinical trials and research studies are in process all the time, ranging from experimental brain imaging to genetic correlations to new treatment protocols.

It’s this type of research that gives me and other caregivers hope for the future, as it will not only impact future generations but could also provide advances for our loved ones who are affected by AD right now. I’d also add that seeing the ongoing support and collaborative efforts by organizations and individuals to raise awareness and funding to support our knowledge and treatment advances is very exciting to me.

 

MLR-AVN-US-0813-1022

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