Sonja shares how support groups have helped her care for her Alzheimer's father.
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EmpowHer: How have support groups helped you care for you father with Alzheimer's disease? Sonja Redman: Well, that's the thing that I feel the most strongly about, and this is the beauty of a diagnosis, this thing that happened. We now know that my dad probably had some kind of TIA or stroke that made his language confused when we originally took him to the hospital. But then the diagnosis of the Alzheimer's came after the testing and the brain scans and stuff. But, after that, the beauty of the diagnosis was then to outreach. I called the Alzheimer's Association, I called Hospice of the Valley, I called every agency that anyone ever suggested that might have help for us. With sitting down and talking to each of these individual groups, found that my father may be eligible for help through the state, that Alzheimer's Association had monthly caregiver meetings. Then somebody else mentioned about Banner Alzheimer's Institute. We got involved there, and my father was further diagnosed and met with the neurologist at the institute. I am currently taking my mother, I mean, I got her originally involved because my mother needed the help, and so I was her ride to these places. I have since found that I love the people in these groups. We have learned so much, just the little tidbits. My mother, who has hated animals so we never had a pet growing up; she always hated animals. But couple of the people in one of our groups talked about "Oh, how much a puppy has helped her Alzheimer's husband," and Mother, on the way home said, "Do you think I should get your dad a puppy?" I said, "Mother, I think the last thing you need to do is get dad a puppy. You've never liked puppies and he is 91 and he is not going to be able to -- they neither one could take care of a puppy, so we downplayed that. But just to listen to different ideas that other people have, it's been invaluable. I love going; I look forward to it.
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