Contact:
Carrie Martin Munk
The ALS Association
(571) 319-3047
cmunk@alsa-national.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The ALS Association Recognizes Family Caregivers

Washington, D.C. (October 31, 2013) — November is National Family Caregivers Month. Nationwide, more than 65 million individuals are family caregivers to spouses, children, parents and other loved ones with physical, developmental or emotional needs. This month, The ALS Association thanks the many dedicated caregivers who provide crucial support to loved ones living with the devastating effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Caregivers are essential to managing the significant day-to-day needs of people suffering from ALS and deserve recognition for the selfless, around-the-clock care and support that they provide.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The disease robs people of the ability to walk, to talk and even blink an eye. It traps them inside a body they no longer can control and ultimately prevents them from breathing as it takes their life.  People with ALS lose the power to use their legs, hold someone close, and simply say, “I love you,” before their bodies gradually shut down. There is no known cause of the disease, although military veterans are approximately twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population.

“I wish to thank every caregiver for their selfless and tireless work to care for others.” said Jane H. Gilbert, President and CEO of The ALS Association.  “Your devotion to your loved ones with ALS stands as an example to the rest of us.”

To support caregivers as they face the challenges of living with ALS, The ALS Association offers helpful resources at www.alsa.org/als-care/caregivers. Resources include caregiving tips and hints, information on coping with the demands of caregiving, respite care, and more. Additionally, The ALS Association will soon host a webinar on November 18 for caregivers on how they can benefit from assistive technology. Login details are available at http://www.alsa.org/als-care/resources/webinars.html.

“Caregivers experience the effects of ALS in a way that most of us cannot imagine,” Gilbert continued. “Not only must they watch a loved one face ALS; in most cases, caregivers themselves experience significant physical and emotional challenges as a result of the care they provide.”

The ALS Association will also offer individuals the opportunity to thank a caregiver through an online e-card, which can be sent directly from the organization’s website. People can create customized messages to send via email to the caregiver in their lives who has chosen to fill this vital role.  For each e-card sent, Permobil, the world’s leading manufacturer of power wheelchairs, will donate $10 with a $25,000 maximum donation. 

The Association recently appeared on VoiceAmerica’s “Family Caregivers Unite!” program. Speakers discussed the topics of importance to all caregivers with particular emphasis on ALS. You can listen to the broadcast here. VoiceAmerica is broadcast in 22 countries and has an estimated 500,000 listeners.

Throughout November, the Association will post information pertinent to family caregivers on  Facebook.com/alsassociation and Twitter at @alsassociation.

About The ALS Association
The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front.  By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure.  For more information about The ALS Association, visit our website at www.alsa.org.

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