COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., (KRDO) - November is Alzheimer's Awareness and Family Caregivers Month, and according to the Colorado Alzhemier's Association, there are 76,000 people aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer's in Colorado.
But behind those patients lie true unsung heroes: caregivers. Staff at the Palisades at Broadmoor Park, an assisted living facility in Colorado Springs, say the fight against Alzheimer's isn't only for those who have the disease, it can also greatly impact the caregivers too.
"It can be both mentally and emotionally exhausting, but that's the reason we create boundaries for ourselves, like get rest, work balance you celebrate the little things," said Marie Eltagonde, a caregiver with a decade of experience.
Celebrating the little things has always been important, but during the pandemic, Eltagonde said it became a necessity since many patients were isolated from their loved ones.
"They don't understand how to use Zoom and how to sit there for 30 minutes and their loved one is trying to connect with them, it is all about that touch and being in person," added Eltagonde.
Frances Capritta, the Executive Director at the Palisades at Broadmoor Park, says early detection of the disease can help patients adjust to their new life, but there is still no cure.
"Some pretty early indicators that you might start to see -- one of them is that they will have difficulty with doing something that requires a sequence of events, so balancing a checkbook for example is not a one-step process, those things become harder and harder as the dementia progresses," said Capritta.
Across the U.S., there are six million people of all ages living with the memory loss disease, and 11 million people providing unpaid care to those with the disease.
The Palisades at Broadmoor Park has a "Festival of Wreaths" coming up on December 3rd, with all proceeds going to the Alzheimer's Association.