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National Family Caregivers Month: Finding the Support You Need

Life Care Planning

If you are one of the many heroes providing care to others, you know how demanding taking care of someone can be, and understanding how to avoid caregiver stress is essential. The National Alliance for Caregiving reports there are 34.2 million unpaid caregivers in the United States providing care to those over 50. Also, nearly 25% of caregivers spend over 40 hours per week taking care of others. With more than 96% of caregivers helping with activities of daily living (ADL), which includes dressing, feeding, and walking, the stress can be overwhelming. Yet there are some things you can do to take care of yourself if you are the caretaker of a loved one.

Since it is easy to feel overwhelmed caring for someone, joining a support group, either online or in your community, can help you to feel less isolated. In addition to support groups, respite care is an option. The best time to set up respite care is when you become a caretaker. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, respite care can provide relief when you need a vacation. Respite care occurs at home or in a facility.

There are several options for in-home care, so you will have some choices to make. For those who need services, there are companion services, personal aides, and homemaker care. Planning to use these services can help should you need to take a break from caregiving or are unable to do so.

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For care outside the home, there are adult day care and residential facilities. Adult day care often includes transportation and offers care for a few hours a day in a facility. Your loved one will have the opportunity to interact with other patients, participate in activities, have meals, and receive care throughout the day.

Residential facilities are for longer stays, such as a few days or weeks. This option is a good choice for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients as the patient will receive supervised care in a safe environment. Planning is needed—don’t wait until you desperately need assistance in caring for someone. Set up a plan today to make sure you have options for regular breaks from caregiving.

Avoiding caregiver burnout depends upon taking the time to take care of yourself and planning for alternative care arrangements for your loved one. Yet the Alzheimer’s Association cautions that paying for respite care can be challenging. For patients with Alzheimer’s in New Jersey, the Alzheimer’s Adult Day Care Services Program (AADSP) offers assistance with paying for day care for several days a week. Resources are not just limited to Alzheimer’s patients. Contacting the NJ Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services, can provide you with additional caregiver support resources for in-home and residential respite care.
If you are a caregiver, take the time to find out about resources available to you. Taking care of yourself is crucial for you and those depending on you for care.

If you need assistance caring for a loved one, we can help. Contact our office today for a consultation.

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