By Judy Given, Abe’s Garden and Park Manor Director of Campus Development
It can be challenging for caregivers to carve out time for themselves to run errands, manage their own personal care, or simply relax. There are many options available to create this much needed space.
- Family and Friends: Asking for help to care for your loved one is not always comfortable, especially when we’re independent and believe we should be able to do everything on our own. But caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias requires a village. Ask for help with a specific task or timeframe and it should be easier to find someone willing to assist for you.
- In-Home Care: Numerous companies with experience caring for someone with dementia offer in-home support services. Most will have a shift minimum, such as four consecutive hours, but may be flexible regarding days per week their service is used. This can provide support with your loved one’s personal care, such as bathing, dressing, and hygiene, as well as provide companionship and engagement opportunities.
- Adult Day Programs: Many caregivers find the need to have time at home without their loved one present, so it’s useful to have a safe place for them to go. Day programs are a great option to provide caregivers this alone time. Research the options available in your area. For instance, West End United Methodist Church in Nashville hosts a volunteer-run respite program, The Sunny Day Club, on Mondays from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.; and Abe’s Garden offers two day programs: the Community Group (for individuals in the earliest stage of dementia) and The Club (for those who are a bit more progressed and would benefit from the engagement programs offered to residents).
- Short-Term Respite Programs: Some senior living communities offer short stays that are helpful following hospital stays and during injury rehabilitation. This service may also give caregivers coverage for out of town travel or simply time to decompress. The short-term respite offering at Abe’s Garden is limited to program participants and based on availability.
Remember, it’s critical to caring for your loved one that you take care of yourself, too! Please don’t feel guilty for making your needs a priority and taking a break.