Caring for Those Who Cared for Us - NBC Bay Area

Caring for Those Who Cared for Us

Latino Caregivers Get Alzheimer's Training



    There is help out there for people who have loved ones diagnosed with Alzheimer's. (Published Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010)

    Sandra Sepulveda sat in a class inside San Jose's Eastside Neighborhood center. In another room, her 80 year old father slowly walked to his table for lunch.

    Sepulveda's class is an effort to teach her how to care for her dad who is suffering from Alzheimer's. "It's an isolating experience to take care of someone who has Alzheimer's," said Sepulveda.

    This 8-hour class for Latino caregivers was free, thanks to a partnership between the Alzheimer's Association, Catholic Charities, and the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley.

    "It's predicted that in the next 50 years, there's going to be a six-fold increase in dementia in the Latino and Hispanic population," said Amy Andonian of Catholic Charities.

    Andonian said an overwhelming number of Latinos decide to care for their aging parents at home, rather than put them in rest homes.

    "We want to make sure all the people caring for elders have all the tools and all the information to care for the elders, and at the same time, care for themselves," said Ron Gonzales, CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley.

    The class' instructor is Esther Wilson-Arias of the Alzheimer's Association of Northern California.

    "About 60 percent of caregivers are suffering with depression," said Wilson-Arias.  She they are suffering and dealing with their challenging situations by themselves when they don't have to.  There is assistance out there.

    For many caregivers, just attending a support group is a big help.  Wilson-Arias said 60 percent of caregivers suffer from depression, so it's just as important for caregivers to take care of themselves, while looking after their loved ones.

    "Coming to a place where people understand what you're going through gives a sense of community, a network which to pool ideas and resources," said Sepulveda.

    There was a time when Sepulveda's father held his little girl's hand. Sepulveda said now, it's time to hold his.