It starts with a diagnosis.
“All of the people you know and love still know and love you, but they really cannot understand what’s happening,” said Diane Goldstein.
After that, daily life becomes a struggle.
“It’s very easy to get very depressed and lonely when you’re a caregiver to an Alzheimer’s patient,” Goldstein said.
While she felt alone, she soon learned she’s not.
While this may seem like a basic, roundtable discussion, it’s actually a life-link for Goldstein and many others, including David Sprenkel whose wife has Alzheimer’s.
“It’s hard to be able to try to help her when she can’t help herself,” he said.
All of these people take care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia and attend Caregiver Bootcamp at the Naples Senior Center.
“Caregivers are often referred to as the unseen patient and they become anxious, they become depressed,” said President & CEO of Naples Senior Center Jaclynn Faffer. “The caregivers have a 24-hour day, seven days a week job, and they get little to no training.”
“I have a hard time applying everything because I get frustrated sometimes, but I’ve learned so much that’s helped me to be a better caregiver,” Sprenkel said. Caregivers who can cope with the disease while also caring for themselves.
“I realized that Naples Senior Center could give me what I needed in terms of feeling worthy and being able to deal with my husband,” Goldstein said.
Most importantly, they learn they’re not alone.
The Caregivers Bootcamp program is expanding. The Naples Senior Center says there are now three groups on Marco Island and seven in Naples.
The non-profit says the bootcamp costs $25 a session, but no one is turned away because they can’t pay.