With our fast-growing population of older Americans, it is no surprise that an increasing number of families are assuming a caregiving role. If you are now caring for a parent or spouse with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia, you are certainly not alone. Today, progressive memory loss is a major factor in our society.
Carmen Duren, Executive Director, at the newly-opened Provident Village at Canton in Canton, GA, says, “If you now find yourself in the role of primary caregiver, it is extremely important for you to become knowledgeable about memory care and to create a circle of support as early as possible. Why? Because being a caregiver for a loved one with memory loss can be very challenging!
“This is particularly true today as many caregivers are already juggling the multiple responsibilities of home, family and career. Acting as a primary caregiver can be both mentally and physically exhausting, and many caregivers report a poorer quality of life. In fact, experts in memory care have even termed caregivers as the ‘silent victims’ or the ‘second victims’ of Alzheimer’s disease.
Organizing Your Caregiving Team
To get started on creating an effective caregiver team and plan of care, you can do the following:
- Understand the disease – Read up on progressive memory loss so you know what you’re dealing with and what to expect in each of its stages. The Alzheimer’s Association is an excellent resource.
- Make a complete list of all tasks you can use help with – No one can do it all alone, and many people are happy to help out if you give them specific requests.
- Match your needs with available resources –Make a spreadsheet or calendar listing of your needs for assistance with people and resources you can count on for help. For example, your sister will pick up Dad’s prescriptions the first Monday of every month, etc.
- Research other specialized resources –Take some time to research other potential sources that could be helpful.
Helpful Caregiver Resources You Can Use
Adds Duren, “There might be other good resources available that you haven’t thought of. Recognized national authorities on memory care such as the Mayo Clinic and the Alzheimer’s Association recommend several that you should consider. For example:
- Other Family Members – Turning to your family, especially any siblings, is your first option if you’re looking after a parent. Though you may be the lead caregiver, it’s critical to let others know that they need to be involved as well. Other relatives, such as your spouse, children, aunts, uncles and cousins, should also be considered if they are available.
- Close Friends and Neighbors – Friends and neighbors with whom you have close relationships can be another valuable source of help. Always be clear and specific about what you would like them to do, and about how long you’ll need their help. Remember, people are more likely to assist you if the task and time commitment are clearly defined for them.
- Community Support Organizations – Many communities have service groups set up specifically to help caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association’s Caregiver Center and Community Resource Finder are good places to start. Local churches, senior centers and government agencies can also provide useful information. By taking some time to look, you may discover an entire network of services available to help.
- Hired Assistance – If family and friends are an insufficient option and you have the financial resources, you might consider hiring people to be a part of your caregiving team. This could include, for example, assistive care, house cleaning, lawn care, household repairs or transportation services. Just be sure the people you use are competent and trustworthy.
- Stress Management Support – Coping with the increased level of physical and emotional stress in your life is extremely important – both for you and the person you are taking care of. Learning and applying the experts’ strategies to manage stress is vital to your own health and well-being.
- Respite Care Services – Since caregivers typically need periodic breaks from the challenges of caregiving, you should identify a resource that can provide respite care support. For example, a weekend break could be provided by a family member or a professional respite care provider. The purpose is to give you time away from your duties to “recharge your batteries.” Don’t let being a caregiver define your life.
- 24/7 Professional Memory Care – There normally comes a point in the progression of memory loss when it is no longer possible for at-home caregivers to provide the needed level of care and safety in the home environment.
Following these useful tips on organizing your caregiving resources can help to simplify your life, ease your burden and provide better overall care for your loved one.
A Life Filled with Support for Loved Ones with Memory loss
“If and when the times comes that your loved one needs full-time memory care, you can look to us with confidence,” says Duren. “Our Main Street Memory Care Neighborhood offers the best of both worlds – programs that foster moments of joy, independence and wellness, combined with luxurious, purpose-built residential living and truly compassionate, respectful care.
“Our specialized neighborhood is designed to promote as much autonomy as possible even as memory loss progresses. Here, families enjoy true peace of mind knowing that their loved one’s days are filled with vibrancy, humor, fun and joy.”
Your Trusted Resource for Information, Support and Resources
In addition to offering gracious assisted living and compassionate memory care, Provident Village at Canton is also a place that families can turn to for guidance and support on assisted living and memory care. We invite you to view our regular articles and tips on pertinent senior living and senior care topics as well as to call us with your questions.
Live Vibrantly! at Provident Village at Canton
At Provident Village at Canton, we believe vibrant days ensure bright tomorrows, so we've created a community where seniors, quite simply, Live Vibrantly! Whether it's in our Assisted Living Community or Memory Care Neighborhood, each day we celebrate the individuality and strengths of each resident.
At Provident Village, to Live Vibrantly! means that days are filled with joy, vitality, growth and security. It means residents are socially active and personally empowered, with access to the personalized care and support they need to live fully. It means residing in a community where intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual and physical care are seamlessly integrated into everyday life.
Our compassionate Care Partners dedicate each day to enriching the lives of our residents. They customize the level of attention and activities to each resident's specific needs and abilities. Our living environments are warm and inviting, with comfortable furnishings, beautiful fixtures and natural elements that bring the outdoors inside.