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Alzheimer’s Support Group for School Students Who Are Caregivers

Should a community foster an Alzheimer’s support group for high school students? Teens who are caregivers at home need access to services and help resources.

The population of persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease continues to rise steadily, forcing an increase in the number of home caregivers – particularly, child caregivers. As for the essay writer site, early-onset Alzheimer’s can strike middle-aged adults, including some parents who may be raising children at home. Alzheimer’s isn’t the only long-term ailment families deal with, however. Cancer, other diseases, and serious injury can interrupt a household, too. How do Alzheimer’s and other long-term ailments affect today’s generation of young people under age 18? What happens when a child suddenly is thrust into the role of caregiver?

Child and Teen Caregivers in the Home

In retirement states like Florida, where the population of seniors is higher than average, the number of caregivers is also higher. Alzheimer’s and other long-term ailments are robbing school-age teenagers of their youth. Instead of participating in sports and extra-curricular activities, teens are spending after-school hours helping to care for grandma and/or grandpa while parents work.

Most kids don’t mind missing a few days of school here and there to help out at home. But, the situation changes when early-onset Alzheimer’s strikes a family. In the event of early-onset Alzheimer’s, a teen may be forced to choose between attending school and dropping out to care for mom or dad.

Child Caregivers Face Health Issues and Other Consequences

The inability to finish school isn’t the only concern for under-18 caregivers. Just as being a full-time caregiver can put an unhealthy amount of stress on an adult, it can cause unbearable stress for an adolescent. Mental health and physical health are both compromised. Teens and middle-school children don’t have the physical strength, skills, knowledge, and coordination caregiver duties often demand. Those children who don’t understand and can’t cope with the demands often feel anger and resentment from bearing the weight of caregiver responsibilities.

School Students Need a Caregiver Support Group

Teen caregivers must be recognized for the roles they assume in whatever capacity that may be. A teen may help a good parent by seeing to the needs of younger siblings. He may look after a grandparent who has Alzheimer’s or some other long-term illness. School is one of the best places to offer Alzheimer’s support and guidance to teens. Students can learn caregiver skills, voice concerns, and find resources tailored to a young person’s specific needs.

When early-onset Alzheimer’s strikes a single parent, a teenager may become a primary caregiver. The teen may have no clue as to how he or she will manage the challenges that lie ahead. In the toughest scenario, writeanypapers.com describes as the following: a teen from a single-parent household may have to quit school to care for the ill parent and younger siblings. He or she may even have to quit school to take a job to support the family. Losing the chance to complete educational goals poses a whole different set of complications and consequences.

Starting a Caregiver Support Group for Children and Teenagers

Survey to see how many students are interested in starting a support group for teen caregivers. A handful of interested students led by a guidance counselor or other professional may attract other students who are afraid to come forward. Some students may take a while to join because they’re are embarrassed to have others know their home situation. Check these support group resources for child and teen caregivers:

The American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) is a national resource for the support of children who are caring for ill, injured, elderly, or disabled family members. The site offers contact information from resources such as the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of American Teens (AFATeens). Visitors to the AACY site will find access to news bulletins, phone numbers for help agencies, and even a book list for young readers.

Caregivers of Aging Parents (CAPS) is the oldest caregiving organization. Although it is primarily directed at adult caregivers, the site offers all sorts of valuable information and referrals. There is an online support group available, as well. According to the essay writing help service, CAPS members offer the following information that applies to both adult caregivers and youth caregivers: “Caregivers stay healthy longer and are less stressed through regular association with support groups which afford practical advice, understanding, and affirmation.”

Unlike an adult child who has to give up her (or his) job to care for an aging grandparent, a young teenager should not have to quit school to fill the caregiver role for an injured or ill parent. A young teen should not have to decide between getting an education and going to work to support a family when a parent has Alzheimer’s disease or some other long-term ailment. It’s time America addressed the problems young caregivers under age 18 are facing – health concerns, plus losing out on career dreams and goals – and come up with a better, healthier solution.