I have the right: To seek help from others even though my loved ones may object. I recognize the limits of my own endurance and strength.
– A Caregiver’s Bill of Rights
All caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s – both women and men – face a devastating toll. Due to the physical and emotional burden of caregiving, Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers had $9.3 billion in additional healthcare costs of their own in 2013. Nearly 60 percent of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high, and more than one-third report symptoms of depression.
GET SOME HELP!
No one can care for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s on his or her own! Reach out to your family, friends, neighbors, or your family of faith! If you don’t have this kind of support system, ask your doctor to put you in touch with a social worker who can tell you about services in your area.
As this disease progresses, you might consider adult daycare, you might hire an in-home caregiver, or consider placement in a Memory Support Community. Just remember that every situation is different! What works well for one patient might be completely unfeasible for another.
There should be no guilt or shame in seeking any kind of assistance! There is no shame in providing your loved one a safe environment designed to care for his or her specific needs. If someone you loved were suffering from cancer and chronic pain you wouldn’t feel guilty about taking him or her to a hospital!
The unfortunate truth is that it may be the only way to meet the ever-changing needs of an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient. Feeling sad and depressed are appropriate feelings given the situation, but please don’t succumb to feelings of guilt! You are trying to do what is best for your loved one!
Some caregivers may be met with resistance from family members should they opt for long-term, out-of-home care for their loved one. Most of the time, those who object are those who have not cared for someone with dementia around the clock. They cannot understand the ongoing challenges of the disease and the physical and emotional toll it takes on the caregiver. Alzheimer’s and dementia should not be allowed to destroy the life of the caregiver as well as the one who has the disease.
A Place for Mom is one of the nations largest FREE elder care referral services. This is nothing to be afraid of. It doesn’t cost anything to look. A Place For Mom can direct you to good ones in your area. They are all different. You may come across a few that are old and tired and based on older models, but don’t let that deter you from exploring every option. There are wonderful communities out there dedicated to person-centered care that will cater to your loved one’s specific needs.