It’s September and back-to-school season is in full swing. While parents have been busy getting the kids ready for the start of the school year, at CaringKind ensuring that New Yorkers have the information they need to deal with a dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis is a year-round priority.

Whether you are caring for someone who has the disease; have a friend or family member about whom you’re concerned; or if you – yourself – have been recently diagnosed, in the fight against Alzheimer’s, education is a critically important “weapon.”

Too often, people dismiss the importance of Alzheimer’s education: “It’s not going to change the diagnosis … I’m better off not knowing what’s ahead ... I can handle it. How hard can caregiving be …”

Believe me, equipping yourself with information about dementia will dramatically improve your quality of life as a caregiver and that of the person with the disease.

So, what do you need to know about Alzheimer’s? The answer is simple: a lot.

First, if you think that someone you know might have dementia, or if you’re worried about yourself, don’t wait. Please call us! The CaringKind 24-hour Helpline (646-744-2900) is available 365 days a year and is staffed by trained professionals. No question is too big or too small. Our social workers will guide you with expertise and compassion and, after in-depth consultations, they will create a personalized care plan just for you and your family.

Another great source of information is the CaringKind website: Here you can get the basics on the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, how to reduce your risk and so much more. You can also get helpful tips on how to deal with aggressive behavior, how to communicate with a person who has Alzheimer’s, how to tell the grandkids that “Nana” is sick, or what to do if your family member is prone to wandering.

No one should travel this Alzheimer’s journey alone. CaringKind’s website is also an important resource for help at every step along the way. We offer hundreds of free support groups and educational workshops, run by trained facilitators, in a safe and comfortable environment.

Arming yourself with information will help you better understand and deal with the behavior of the person with dementia. It will also allow you to prepare for the inevitable and overwhelming decisions you’ll have to make about health care, legal and financial matters as the disease progresses – things like powers of attorney, health care proxies, long-term care insurance, navigating Medicaid, getting appropriate home care service, long-term care options, the steps involved in moving someone to a skilled nursing facility and difficult end-of-life decisions.

Rarely a day does by where Alzheimer’s is not in the news. We encourage you to read all you can about the disease. But, be a smart consumer of media reports. Be wary of overblown or misleading stories about potential cures and treatments. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You can always check the CaringKind website for the latest updates on research.

Socrates certainly knew what he was talking about when he said that we don’t know what we don’t know. At CaringKind we’re here to fill that gap and make sure that you have the best information possible about Alzheimer’s and dementia.