The standard work week in the United States is 40 hours. For a growing number of people, however, their responsibilities continue around the clock, 24-hour days, seven days a week. These are the caregivers for the 5.4 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive brain disorder that gradually destroys a person’s memory, thinking and reasoning skills.

This is just one of the many issues that National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month seeks to highlight in November.

Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia poses special challenges. Although memory loss is the best-known symptom, these diseases also cause loss of judgment, orientation, ability to understand and communicate effectively, and frequently, changes in personality and behavior. Individuals require increasing levels of supervision and personal care. Many caregivers experience high levels of stress and negative effects on their health, employment, income and financial security.

To help those who care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association sponsors a support group in Scotland County. The group meets the third Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. in the activities room at the Scotland County Care Center. For more information contact organizer Laura Schenk.

Participants find a relaxed, confidential atmosphere at support group meetings. They are among other caregivers who understand the challenges they face and can offer suggestions for addressing specific issues. They also learn about memory loss, additional services available, research and other topics of interest.

For care consultation or more information about Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementias, the Alzheimer’s Association provides a 24-hour Helpline at 800-272-3900.