Program prepares Alzheimer's caregivers

DENVER - This week, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen announced he would be stepping down to focus his attention on his fight against Alzheimer's disease.

It's a disease with a far reach. This year, the Alzheimer's Association predicts 5.2 million American will have Alzheimer's, and that number is only expected to grow as the baby boomers age.

In many cases, it's family members that eventually become caregivers for Alzheimer's patients. This is the case for Rick and Vicki Dindinger.

In 2010, Rick was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He is still in the early stages but heavily depends on his wife of 51 years, Vicki, to care for him.

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Rick says the one thing he misses most is driving.

"I miss my car and having a car license," Rick said. "That's one of the most difficult things to do in a society where everyone goes out on their own."

Rick first displayed signs of Alzheimer's almost five years ago when he began struggling to organizing his checkbooks. After several meeting with doctors and tests, Rick was told he had the disease.

Vicki says when Rick was first diagnosed she wasn't sure what to do. In effort to learn more about Alzheimer's disease, she reached out to the Alzheimer's Association for guidance. It was through the association that she learned about a 6-week program called "The Savvy Caregiver," a program, she says, has proven to be extremely helpful.

"I got an overview of what to look for, how to treat a person with Alzheimer's- things not to say, things to say," says Vicki, "It was a great beginning. Very, very helpful."

Rick says he is grateful that his wife and family can help him through his battle with Alzheimer's.

"Some families don't want to face it, but our family has been really supportive," says Rick.

For more information on the Alzheimer's Association, click here:

(Copyright © 2014 USA TODAY)


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