Caring for a parent or spouse who has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia can be a stressful undertaking. In many cases, caregivers must maintain constant vigilance to ensure the safety of their loved one. For these caregivers, it might be difficult to take time to run errands, exercise, or simply enjoy a few minutes of relaxation. Caregivers who have full-time or part-time employment face an even more difficult balancing act. If you are a caregiver who is encountering these sorts of challenges, do not despair: There are ways to give yourself a break.
Below are three suggestions.
• Organize Home Visits: There are many kinds of home visits. A friend or family member might be able to relieve a caregiver for a few hours. A caregiver could hire an aide to serve as a companion for a loved one for a similar period of time. Some of these aides can help a loved one bathe, get dressed, or eat. Some are trained to provide medical assistance, such as administering medications. Whatever the nature of the arrangement, the home visit serves the important purpose of giving the caregiver a little free time.
• Consider Day Care: Many senior living communities offer day care. This type of arrangement is especially beneficial for caregivers who work full-time. It is also beneficial, however, for your loved one, who can participate in stimulating interactive activities supervised by trained experts, enjoy a meal (usually lunch) and a snack, and spend the day socializing with new friends. The caregiver simply drops off the loved one in the morning and picks him or her up at the end of the day.
• Attend Events for Caregivers and Their Loved Ones: Social interaction with others is advantageous for both caregivers and their loved ones, but it is not easy to organize and maintain. Wider recognition of this problem has led experts to develop new methods of increasing social interaction for both parties. One example is Our Place Memory Café. This monthly event enables caregivers and their loved ones to spend an afternoon of fun and entertainment with others who are in similar situations. These events not only relieve the caregivers for a few hours, but they also provide a forum for emotional support, sharing and learning.
The challenges involved in caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be daunting indeed, but there are ways to reduce their severity. Because there are several options available, it is likely that one of the suggestions above is appropriate for your specific situation. Remember: The health of your loved one is paramount, but so is yours. The better you care for yourself, the better you can care for your loved one.
If you would like to learn more about Alzheimer’s Day Care, please contact one of The Bristal communities that offer these services.
To learn more about our Memory Café, fill out this form on our website and a Memory Café representative will reach out to you to answer your questions.