FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — More than 350,000 family members and friends are caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s or dementia in North Carolina.
That’s why the Alzheimer’s Association is recognizing November as National Family Caregivers Month.
Cynthia Billops has been married to Quincy Billops for more than 42 years. About 8 years ago, she says she noticed something different about her husband.
“The doctors, they didn’t really listen to what I was saying. They would give me a pill to calm me down” Cynthia Billops said.
After talking to doctors for years, she says Quincy Billops was finally diagnosed with dementia. She’s still caring for him by herself in their family home.
“I know down the road, it might get worse,” Cynthia Billops said. “Sometimes he gets just a little confused… He’ll say, ‘I’m gonna call June,’ and I’ll say, ‘Baby, June’s been dead 20 years.’”
The Billops’ daughters Tamara Carroll and Camille Newman regularly come over to help their mom care for their dad. They can all manage the health and care of Quincy Billops now, but Cynthia Billops says it won’t always be enough.
“We’re gonna have to come to the day, someone’s gonna have to come in for my mental health,” Cynthia Billops said.
“Sometimes, when the caregivers are taking care of the patients, who’s taking care of the caregivers? I check on her to make sure her mindset is right,” Tamara Carroll said.
The Alzheimer’s Association says last year, North Carolinians provided an estimated 517 million hours of unpaid care to an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient.