Looking after a family member who is suffering from dementia is a demanding and emotionally draining job. It is well-documented that patients with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of senile dementia do best when able to live in their own homes for as long as possible. To allow this, the toll on their partners or family can be huge. Here are some ways a full-time carer can use the services of professional carers to ease the burden - without moving the afflicted relative permanently into a home.
Home care visits
A senior caregiver can be hired to come to your home on a regular or ad-hoc basis. If the person with dementia needs additional assistance in the mornings and at bedtime, when washing and dressing can be stressful, it might help to have someone there for an hour at those times every day. Alternatively, if the dementia is not too advanced, arrange for a weekly session of craft or motor-skill stimulation for your relative. This will free you up to tackle some chores or pop out to do the shopping.
Dementia sufferers can gain a lot of pleasure from simple outings to familiar places or to somewhere they can people-watch. Many respond particularly to being amongst young children, so take them to a popular family spot like the zoo or by the beach. If it is too daunting to manage a day trip with them by yourself, engage a caregiver to come as your assistant. The additional help will allow you to enjoy the day out with your loved one without the usual worries of how to manage toilet breaks or guard against them wandering off.
The drudgery and routine of being a carer can be both physically and emotionally wearing. You will do a better job if you look after your own health too. If you hire a professional caregiver to come for a full day, once a week or even once a fortnight, you can take the day off. See your own friends, go to the gym or catch a movie. Just give yourself some breathing time to be yourself.
Whilst you don't want your relative with dementia to go into a nursing home full-time, many offer the option of short-term stays, known as 'respite care'. A longer break for you allows you to go away on holiday or work if necessary. An additional benefit is that as your family member moves into the later stages of dementia, this can be a gentle way of easing into full-time residential care if it appears to be unavoidable.
You will be a better carer yourself if you acknowledge when you need help. With so many care options and qualified caregivers available, have a look at what kind of assistance would work for you.
For more information, contact a business such as Care Givers Pty Ltd.