In honor of our newsletter focusing on Medicaid Planning, we have asked Bobbi Matchar MSW, MHA, the social worker at the Duke Family Support Program, to share tips with our readers. For more information visit her website at 


She’s just not herself – she never would have done that before.  He got lost driving to his own church!  She fired another home care lady. Why can’t my brother see what I see?  She doesn’t belong in a nursing home, but we can’t afford assisted living.  The Memory Care Unit said we must find another place for Dad – I thought they specialized in people with Alzheimer’s?

Sound familiar? Chances are if you aren’t already caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, you know someone who is.

Currently more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and this number may be as high as 16 million in 2050. Nearly one in every three seniors who dies each year has Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

[1]  In North Carolina there are an estimated 170,000 people now living with Alzheimer’s. By 2025 that number is projected to quadruple.[2]

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be physically, emotionally and financially exhausting. Educating yourself about the disease and local resources can be very empowering. Help is available: from adult day programs to long-term care facilities, from reading about Alzheimer’s to an aide reading to your family member with Alzheimer’s, and from support groups for caregivers to supporting your neighbor with Alzheimer’s.

Where to look for help in the Triangle area:


  • The Duke Family Support Program is a first-responder service for North Carolina families and professionals caring for someone with a memory disorder.  The program offers telephone and email consultation, support groups, educational services and a newsletter, The Caregiver. For info: 919-660-7510 or their website DFSP
  • Alzheimer’s North Carolina provides family support, community education, public awareness and supports research for the prevention, cure and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Contact: 919-832-3732 or their website Alzheimer’s NC
  • The Alzheimer’s Association – Eastern North Carolina Chapter offers programs and support services, information, referral, education and advocacy to the 51 counties of Eastern North Carolina. For info: 919-803-8285 or their website Alzheimer’s Association Eastern NC
  • The Alzheimer’s Association’s National 24/7 helpline is staffed by trained professionals and offers a translation service that features over 170 languages and dialects. 800-272-3900
  • Project C.A.R.E. (Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty) is the only state funded dementia-specific support for family caregivers, Project C.A.R.E. uses a family consultant model to provide care management and information and referral services responsive to the needs, values and preferences of Alzheimer’s families. For info: 919-660-7510 or this webpage Project C.A.R.E.

Other key resources:


Alzheimer’s Association enhances care and support for families with support groups, online resources and information, and help finding clinical studies. is the government’s free information resource about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias for “people helping people with Alzheimer’s.”

Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center is a resource for information on Alzheimer’s, on locating research centers and clinical trials, and for credible, free and current publications on Alzheimer’s and caregiving.

Alzheimer’s Reading Room  is a popular blog for the entire Alzheimer’s community. Written by a long-time caregiver, the ARR is about helping caregivers, families and friends to better understand, cope, and communicate with persons living dementia.

BenefitsCheckUp, a free service of the National Council on Aging, identifies programs that help with everyday expenses including medications, health care, food, utilities, and legal expenses.

North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services  works to promote independence and enhance the dignity of North Carolina’s older adults, persons with disabilities, and their families through a community-based system of opportunities, services, benefits, and protections.

NC Division of Health Service Regulations’ lists licensed long-term care facilities by the type of service they provide and by county.

Nursing Home Compare, part of the official government site for Medicare, has detailed information about every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country.

VA Caregiver Support offers family caregivers a number of services, including help at home, respite care and a caregiver support line.

Bobbi Matchar is a social worker at the Duke Family Support Program in Durham. You may reach her at [email protected].