Support available for those suffering with Alzheimer's and Dementia

Mark Paczkowski cares for his mother// WSBT 22

Alzheimer's and dementia can make some people feel alone.

Some neighbors say the elderly couple found dead in their South Bend home as a result of a murder-suicide may have had one of those diseases.

Dementia and other diseases like it affect everyone differently.

We cannot confirm the couple had dementia but it has raised a lot of questions.

A local caregiver wants you to know you don't have to suffer in silence there is help available.

Mark Paczkowski moved back to his hometown to take care for his parents who were experiencing dementia. He says it was hard to see his once strong, capable, World War II veteran father struggling with the disease.

Paczkowski's father passed away more than an year ago but his mother remains.

"They don't just lose a part of themselves, they lose themselves altogether,” said Paczkowski.

Medical experts say it's common for people with these types of illnesses to become depressed and frustrated but it affects everyone differently.

"As the disease progresses, it's not uncommon for people to have hallucinations, it's not uncommon for them to become aggressive and yet there's also other individuals that are pleasantly confused,” said Pam Huffer, Alzheimer's and Dementia Services of Northern Indiana Executive Director.

When Paczkowski first moved here he didn't know there was available in the community. Real Services helped him find what he was looking for.

"The first thing you learn and the most important thing you learn dealing with somebody with dementia, no matter what level it's at be it light or be it severe, take the word no out of your vocabulary,” said Paczkowski.

Paczkowski says taking care of his mom is less of a challenge now and he has local organizations to thank for that.

"What goes around comes around, and they took such good care of us that it's my time to repay that,” he said.

The Alzheimer's and Dementia Services of Northern Indiana offers education and caregiver support.

There's also support groups that meet on a monthly basis and a helpline you can call with the Alzheimer's and Dementia Services of Northern Indiana.

For more information on those groups, visit their WEBSITE.

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