This reminds me of the instructions parents on an airplane receive before takeoff. If there is an emergency, the parent must put on their own oxygen mask BEFORE tending to their child. If they don't, their child can't count on them for help when they need it most. It's the same when caring for an AD patient. You must be sure you're healthy, so you can keep your patient safe, too. This post focuses on adult day care as an excellent way to care for caregivers and patients.
Long before full-time care is needed for an Alzheimer's patient, adult day care can provide social interaction and practical support to the patient and the caregiver.
|Art classes are fun for attendees.|
Some places offer visiting podiatrists, health monitoring, and free manicures by local beauty school students. The schedule may include pet therapy, picnics in a local park or visits to the zoo.
Structured activities and a routine which frees the caregiver for work or respite, provides an entertaining, safe way for the person with Alzheimer's to spend their day. Attendees enjoy socializing in a place where the stress of trying to understand a complicated world is removed. The companionship of new friendships cannot be overrated.
|Exercise can be a social event, too.|
Caregivers benefit by meeting and talking to other families in the same situation. Most facilities offer support groups that comfort and educate caregivers. Nurses and social workers employed by the day care are valuable resources for information, too.
Look for a clean, Alzheimer's-friendly environment with open spaces, bright lighting and room to roam. Visit at different times of the day and observe the clients. Do they look happy? Are they supervised? I visit at meal times to watch the staff. Meals are always a test of ingenuity and patience.
Check for walking paths that are secure. Many AD patients like to pace and wander. You'll want to be sure your person can't wander away from day care. Ask about staff credentials. Is there an RN on staff in addition to CNA's? Make sure the program is licensed by the state.
Consider a trial run for a day or a week. Finding the right place is a process, and you may not be happy with the first place you try. It's a combination of the right people and services, and how comfortable your person feels there.
|Taking a break will make you a better caregiver.|
Day Care is not a permanent solution. However, it's an excellent choice because it prolongs the time a patient can live at home by providing necessary care for the patient, and respite for the caregiver.
by Karen Favo Walsh | www.AlzheimerStories.com