Telehealth Brings Powerful Tools to Caregivers

Kim London watched as Alzheimer’s Disease slowly changed everything about her once vibrant and loving mother, Tommie Brownlee.

“She was diagnosed in 2018 and things were fine...then it started where she couldn’t walk as well, she couldn’t move, and she needed help with everything,” London said.  

According to the South Carolina Department on Aging, 86,000 South Carolinians are living with Alzheimer’s. That’s eleven percent of South Carolina’s seniors. By 2025, that number is projected to grow to 120,000 South Carolinians with Alzheimer’s. London quit her job to become a full-time caregiver for her mother; the role was demanding but she found support from a telehealth class the Alzheimer’s Disease Program Initiative project through the SCDA. The ADPI project provides a step-by-step training program that aims to ease the burdens on caregivers. In partnership with the 7th District Women’s Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the ADPI project equipped 32 class leaders with laptops which allowed participants to access to the program remotely from their own homes.   

“Virtually, it helped because I could be here with (my mother) while doing the class,” London said. “If she needed me or something urgent, I could get up and go to her room.”

This telehealth approach allows the ADPI program to reach more caregivers through virtual and hybrid classes; getting them the help and guidance they need.

“It’s important to us to help provide support to family caregivers who will in turn provide support to their loved ones,” said Jennifer Brewton, Division Manager of the Caregivers and Alzheimer’s Resource Division of the SCDA.

“When we look at caregiving as whole, we know that caregivers are the lifeblood of care provided to persons with Alzheimer’s and dementia.”