In hospitals each day, chaplains provide spiritual care to a wide range of people with varied religious and spiritual backgrounds. Chaplains can also work with families of people who are hospitalized, or who reside in hospice or other facilities. Their insight and compassion can relieve stress and provide food for the spirit at trying times.

Close to home, a local faith community can be a wonderful place to turn to for spiritual support, as well as other kinds of help. Even if you do not belong to a church, or have been estranged from any faith practice for years, people there welcome the opportunity to act with compassion and care. A quiet conversation with a pastor can, for the weary caregiver, bring good respite. A visit from a kind church member can lift the spirits of the person shut in because of Alzheimer’s disease.

An information overload

Sometimes, the amount of information available about Alzheimer’s disease can be overwhelming and/or confusing, especially when first learning bout it. Take learning one step at a time, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and work with the medical professional directly involved with the person with Alzheimer’s disease to address medical and other issues appropriately.

You, an advocate

Whether you have Alzheimer’s disease or care about someone who does, you might find yourself wondering, “What can I do? What part can I play in raising awareness or helping the cause of research or advocacy for Alzheimer’s disease?"

Volunteers are the backbone of any disease or patient advocacy program, and the organizations that provide resources welcome help in a variety of ways. Participating in one or more activities can truly make a difference, and help the person with Alzheimer’s disease and his or her loved ones feel less powerless and more powerful.

Follow Maureen at and on her Beliefnet blog.

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