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National Family Caregiver Month 

Joy Hollowell

There are 139,000 families in Maine currently caring for an ill relative.The physical and emotional demands can take their toll.This is National Family Caregiver month.Joy Hollowell introduces us to a Bangor woman who knew she couldn’t take care of her ailing husband alone.=======”He said, would you like to go out for lunch sometime? And I said yes. So, he called and that’s the end of the story (laughs).”That was nearly 15 years ago. Lorna and Bill Taylor married soon after, and settled into a happy and busy lifestyle. But several years ago, Lorna noticed that Bill was starting to forget.”Just little things here and there, and you know, it just got worse,” says Taylor.Doctors diagnosed bill with Alzheimer’s…and the disease quickly progressed.”This morning, he did not know who I was,” says Taylor. “And he didn’t know really where he was.”At first, Lorna tried taking care of her husband alone. “You get very, very tired,” says Taylor. “And I don’t think other people sometimes understand that it’s 24-7. The stress, just the caring, watching them deteriorate.””There are very, very few facilities available to people, so I think that means that the burden is even greater on the caregiver.”Deborah Poulton is the director of the Family Caregiver program at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. “Part of what we do in the family caregiver program is we do encourage people to seek somebody to come in and give them a little bit of respite,” says Poulton.The Taylors live at Sunbury Village in Bangor, and Lorna is grateful for the programs available here. She admits that some days are harder than others…”But that’s OK, that’s OK. He’s a wonderful man, and you know, he would have done this for me,” says Taylor.++++If you’d like more information on the programs available to caregivers, call the Eastern Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-432-7812.They also have a website www.eaaa.org