As Alzheimer's and related illnesses continue to affect more individuals, the number of non-professional caregivers continues to grow as well. Non-professional caregivers can sometimes feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with the needs of their loved one with diminished reasoning abilities.
With a number of years experience working with those suffering from an Alzheimer's-type disease or illness, Beth Campbell, director of Concordia Adult Day Services, offered non-professional caregivers the following tips.
Get help early: Getting help early is important in managing the needs of the non-professional caregiver and their loved one. Caregivers often wait too long before considering starting their loved one in an Adult Day Program. Just one or two days a month to get acclimated to an Adult Day Program is helpful and gives the non-professional caregiver time to run errands, go to their own doctor appointments or just take some much-needed time to themselves.
Take help when it's offered: Many times friends, neighbors and family will offer their help. Be prepared. Think of opportunities where others can assist you, so when help is offered you can oblige. People offer to help because they care, so let them share in the care giving.
Let yourself make mistakes: You are only human and you're trying your best. It is normal to become overwhelmed and lose your cool. Forgive yourself.
Be informed: Get as much information as you can on what assistance is out there. A few good places to start are your local Area Agency on Aging, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America or your local Alzheimer's Association. One of the best things you can do is join a support group in your area. Concordia Lutheran Ministries offers support to non-professional caregivers on the second Tuesday of every month at 2 p.m. in the Adult Day Services Center, 134 Marwood Road, Cabot, PA. The meetings are free and adult day services are available during the meeting.
Concordia Adult Day Services offers more than just basic care. Participants are evaluated regularly, offered social activities, exercise classes, nutritious meals and snacks, pastoral visits, medical oversight and much more. The goal is to get our participants re-motivated, giving them the opportunity to engage once again in activities that are pleasurable, such as cooking, baking, cleaning and just getting along with others.
For information, referrals or counseling, contact Concordia Adult Day Services Director Beth Campbell at 724.352.1571, ext. 8271 or e-mail here.