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A person with Alzheimer's disease (AD) needs some help every day. In the early stages of the disease, the help needed may consist of little reminders of people's names or recent events, some hints about finding lost or misplaced objects, and support for daily tasks like paying bills or doing routine chores. As time goes on, the person with AD may need more assistance with basic day-to-day activities such as dressing, bathing, or grooming.

Those who care for someone with AD--the "caregivers"--often need help, too. In the beginning, there are questions about the disease and its symptoms: whether the disease can be cured, if there are any medications that can help, and what to expect in the days to come. Common questions relate to medicines for memory, mood, and behavior. Later, the caregiver may have ques­tions about what support services are available in the community, such as adult day services or support groups to help with the stress of caring for a person with AD on a daily basis. Caregivers also face complex medical, legal, and financial issues when caring for a person with cognitive decline.

Help Is There When You Need It...

One of the most important things to know is that you are not alone. Eisai Inc. and Pfizer Inc, in collaboration with the Alzheimer's Association and The National Council on the Aging, sponsor a support program called TriAD. The program's name stands for the three people involved whenever someone has AD: the healthcare professional, the person with AD, and the caregiver. TriAD™ provides help to all three.

What TriAD Can Do for Those

First of all, TriADprovides information. Brochures like Learning About Alzheimer's Disease and Living With Alzheimer's Disease are written for the layperson, not in medical terms, and can help you discuss your concerns with your healthcare professional. The program also includes a videotape that shows you what happens in the brain of a person with AD, and a question-and-answer booklet that provides answers to questions most asked by persons with AD and their caregivers. You can keep these mate­rials at home, where you can refer to them as often as you need to.

Secondly, TriADoffers support. Every other month, as long as you are enrolled in the TriADprogram, you will receive a newsletter full of helpful suggestions about living day-to-day with AD, stories about how people just like you are coping, what is new in the field of AD research, how to rake care of yourself during times of stress, and how to simplify daily tasks. And the editors of these newsletters want to hear from you, too. In every issue, there is space to record your feedback and an easy way to send it in if you would like. When you learn that there are thousands of people in the TriADprogram who share your challenges, and that you can communicate with them in the pages of the newsletter, you are less likely to feel alone.

Finally, TriADlinks you with services you need. Just one phone call to a toll-free number (1-888-TriADHELP) can tell you what resources are available in your own community...where to find legal or financial planning services specifically for persons with AD...what you should know about Medicare and Medicaid...the location of the nearest adult day services center or respite service...and about other services helpful to persons with AD. It is especially important for caregivers to learn where to meet face-to-face with other people providing daily care; for example, in a support group such as the local Alzheimer's Association Chapter. Local support groups like these and others may help you avoid feeling overwhelmed or depressed, feelings which are common in caregivers of people with AD.  The TriAD Helpline (1-888-TriADHELP) can provide information on finding such a group.  

How to Become Part of the TriAD Program...

  TriAD is for everyone--patients and caregivers--affected by AD. The person with AD does not have to be taking any particular medi­cine or seeing any special healthcare professional, and can be someone who has just been diagnosed with AD or has been affected for some time. And, best of all, TriAD is provided at absolutely no cost.

Only a healthcare professional can enroll you in TriAD. If you picked up this brochure in the waiting room of your healthcare profes­sional, ask him or her to enroll you. If you found the brochure on the counter at your pharmacy, or at your Alzheimer's Association support group, bring it to your healthcare professional and ask for a TriAD Enrollment Kit.

 

TriADTM is intended to provide general guidance based on currently available information. It does not, however, provide individuals with medical, financial, or legal advice. A competent profes­sional should be consulted for specific advice in any of these areas.

References: 1. Caregiver network helps temper significant hardships in laboring for Alzheimer's relatives. Primary Psychiatry. November 1996;2(pt 1 ):20,21,92.2. Mittelman MS, Ferris SH, Shulman E, et al. A comprehensive support program: effect on depression in spouse-caregivers of AD patients. Gerontologist. 1995;35:792-802.3. Brodaty H, McGilchrist C, Harris L, Peters KE. Time until institutionalization and death in patients with dementia. Arch Neurol. 1993;50:643-650.4. Mittelman MS, Ferris SH, Shulman E, Steinberg G, Levin B. A family intervention to delay nursing home placement of patients with Alzheimer disease: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1996;276:1725-1731.