Anyone caring full-time for a loved one with memory-impairment knows that taking a break from 24/7 caregiving is the best way to stay healthy in mind, body and spirit. But how do you take that break?
Here is a poignant quote from the National Institute on Aging’s free guide book, Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease:
“I was standing in the grocery store, totally exhausted, trying to decide what I had come for. I looked down at my cart and all I had were diapers for my incontinent mother and for my two year-old grandson. Diapers were the only thing I could remember. I had asked a neighbor to stay with my mother and Tim because we were out of everything and there I was. I couldn’t remember what I had come for. It was this simple incident that forced me to consider getting help. For almost a year I had been walking around in a semi-trance trying to do everything myself. I had to face the fact that this situation was no longer safe for my mother, for Tim, or for me.” ~E.W.
Getting help may seem like a hard decision, especially if you don’t know how to find it. Often well-meaning friends will offer to come to your home and stay with your loved one while you go shopping or to a movie or simply go sit in solitude at the park or the beach. Or they think it might be a great idea to let you spend a couple of hours at home while they take your loved one for a ride. Unfortunately, those situations can backfire if your loved one becomes agitated or aggressive and your friend is unprepared for such a personality change or outburst.
By far best way for family caregivers to take a well-deserved break from their challenging routines is to find a special day care program like our Adult Day Stay. These programs are designed and supervised by people with a compassionate focus and deep understanding of hosting and engaging someone with Alzheimer’s or another kind of dementia. Of course you can drop off your loved one for the day; however you can also stay with them and experience the program together. After that first time, the “adult day stay,” is your “life preserver”, helping to preserve your own well-being by accomplishing of your responsibilities outside caregiving.