Gardening Reduces Stress For Alzheimer's Caregivers

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According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2008 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, more than 40 percent of the 10 million American unpaid caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high. However, according to a BHG.com online survey of 1,340 respondents, nearly 60 percent of respondents say gardening relaxes them.

This November, during National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month and just in time for holiday gift giving, the Alzheimer’s Association and Meredith Publications are helping to reduce Alzheimer's caregivers’ stress and beautify gardens nationwide with the Alzheimer Awareness Perennial Garden.

The Alzheimer Awareness Perennial Garden, designed by Better Homes and Gardens, consists of 10 white and purple (the official color of the Alzheimer’s Association), lush, hardy plants (three Salvia; two Echinacea, Phlox, and Sedum; and one Aster). Ten percent of gross sales are being donated to the Alzheimer’s Association to help support vital research and services in communities nationwide, making the garden a gift idea for stressed caregivers, families looking to honor loved ones or anyone who wants to move the cause forward.

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“It’s therapeutic to dig in the soil and create a beautiful garden that you can enjoy throughout the year,” says Sandra Gerdes, Test Garden Manager at Better Homes and Gardens. “Whether you have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease or just love to garden, planting the Alzheimer Awareness Perennial Garden will be rewarding and a great way to memorialize loved ones.”
For brown thumbs, the Alzheimer's Association is also introducing its new Caregiver Stress Check – a first-of-its-kind, interactive quiz that helps caregivers identify their symptoms of stress and provides them with a tailored list of helpful referrals and resources. The Caregiver Stress Check will be available at www.alz.org beginning November 1st.

“Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease poses special challenges and increasing levels of care that can be taxing on the caregiver’s health,” says Peter Reed, Ph.D., Senior Director Programs at the Alzheimer’s Association. “Our new Caregiver Stress Check and Alzheimer’s Awareness Perennial Garden will help caregivers maintain their own mental and physical health – a crucial part of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.”

The Alzheimer Awareness Perennial Garden is provided by White Flower Farm and available at www.alz.org for $99.95 plus shipping. The plants will be shipped in spring 2009 based on the recipient’s location and planting season. For every garden purchased while supplies last, Meredith Corporation will contribute 10% of the gross sales to the Alzheimer's Association, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. This contribution is not tax deductible. The Alzheimer's Association and Meredith have an agreement until December 31, 2010.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease and various resources, visit www.alz.org or call 800-272-3900.

The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. For more information, visit www.alz.org.

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