The most difficult thing for many people is to give themselves rest and relaxation when they are caring for a loved one with dementia. Woman are programmed to be caregivers; babies, family members, and loved ones. Many men take on this role very effectively. As a result, we as family caregivers, exhaust ourselves. Here are some tips that might be helpful:
First and foremost, ask family, church family, neighbors and friends for their help. Often, they are willing to help if suggesting a task they feel comfortable giving. I have found people like making meals, driving your loved one to hair and other appointments, visiting, and helping with tasks around the house. People are more willing to help than you realize. They just need to be asked.
Group care, professional care and support groups are available in the community to give you respite. Several people have called and said, “I need help, but can’t afford professional care”. If you are a veteran or have Medicaid, call the appropriate office for help. If you are on Medicare, you have several options for inexpensive care. There is group care at Senior Solutions for a nominal cost, and group care at Golden Corner Respite Care. The Golden Corner Respite is an excellent program for people with Dementia, that I have encouraged all my clients to attend. It meets once a week, on Thursday from 1:00-4:00. The program is aided by volunteers. (If you are available, they can use your help). While the cost is $20.00 per session, you can get a voucher from the Alzheimer’s Association to cover that cost. In the Fall, there will be 2 family caregiver support programs starting, Dementia Dialogue and REACH. Both programs are excellent. They give you a chance to talk about your particular situation and get answers and support. Each has a program for your loved one with dementia, while you are getting the support you need.
If you would like professional caregiving help, you have two choices: independent caregivers or those assigned by a caregiving company or corporation. The least expensive means for care giving is to find an independent person. Sources for these people may include someone from your neighborhood, your church or through a reference from a friend. When you don’t know the perspective worker, it is best to have a background check, a drug test, and several references so that you can choose someone reliable and safe to be in your home. You would also want to know they have had experience working as a caregiver.
A caregiving company would have already given their employees background checks, drug tests, and reference checks. Some companies provide sitters. When you hire a sitter, you can decide the type of care and program you desire for your loved one. Other companies provide care with a plan including physical exercise, mental stimulation and good nutrition. It is best to choose a care giving company whose philosophy matches your own.