HONOLULU (KHON2) — More than 29,000 people in Hawaii are living with Alzheimer’s disease and many are being cared for by their family and friends. But support is always there thanks to the Alzheimer’s Association Aloha Chapter.
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“It was an experience I will never forget,” says Liz Dixon.
Being from the west side, Dixon is forever grateful after attending her first Alzheimer’s meeting last year. “That night we left with so much information and meeting so many other people. There were people not only from Nanakuli, but from Maile, Waianae, and even Makaha,” says Dixon.
The Alzheimer’s Association Aloha Chapter has pivoted to online programs during the pandemic. Dixon’s mom suffers from the disease and says whenever she feels stressed out, she’ll email Oahu Program Specialist, Tonya Tullis.
“Tonya Tullis is just amazing, incredible. She is a ball of energy when you meet her and you can be having the worst day but reading an email from her will make everything seem so much better,” says Dixon.
What also helps is the huge whiteboard she bought to keep track of mom’s schedule.
“Oh my goodness, the whiteboard. It’s huge and takes up almost the entire wall next to my mom’s chair. Mom will look at the clock and look over to her board and go, this is what I have coming up,” laughs Dixon.
Dixon moved back from California three years ago to care for mom and admits it can be overwhelming.
“As a caregiver, you’re not alone. There are people you can talk too, there are resources. You don’t have to do this by yourself. If it wasn’t for the Alzheimer’s Association, I wouldn’t have realized how many people are going through what my family and I are going through. It’s amazing how our stories overlap each other,” says Dixon.
For more information on the Alzheimer’s Association Aloha Chapter, view https://www.alz.org/hawaii