WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - For many families, when a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, it is hard to talk about it.
So for tips on how to start the conversation, the Alzheimer's Association is hosting the Dementia Conversations workshop Tuesday afternoon.
Susan Gross, an Education and Family Care Specialist for the non-profit's North Central Texas Chapter, said discussions have to take place sooner rather than later in order to get the right treatment and to prevent accidents from happening.
Gross said about 5.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, the number one form of dementia.
She adds with 15 million people caring for a family member or loved one with the disease, educational programs can help educate and support these caretakers.
Gross said care-giving takes over the lives of the individuals who do it, and many say talking about the disease is the hardest part.
She said a lot of them have the same concerns, like how to tell their loved one they should not be driving any more, or someone else needs to handle their finances and legal documents.
When it comes to things like wills and powers of attorney, Gross said there comes a time when it is no longer possible to get this information from someone who is suffering from this disease.
The workshop teaches families how to be prepared and why they should address the disease as soon as possible, how to develop a plan, why it takes a team to help care for someone. It also offers tips on how to help relay information to doctors and ways to have these discussions.
The Alzheimer's Association also offers family counseling and support groups for caregivers
Gross said the non-profit's main goal is to encourage and find funds for research to eliminate the disease, and is always accepting donations to help find a cure.
The "Dementia Conversations" workshop is Tuesday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 at the First Texas Building at 901 Indiana in Wichita Falls.
The event is free and you can R.S.V.P. by calling 940-767-8800.