By LISA D. TYBURSKI
If you are caring for a loved one with dementia, you know all too well that the demands can be overwhelming. You are doing your best, but you are tired, frustrated and behind on other responsibilities in your life causing you great stress. If this stress is left untreated, it can take a significant toll on your health, your relationships and your state of mind, eventually leading to “caregiver burnout.” Caregiver burnout is real and can be very dangerous. When you are experiencing it, it is difficult to do anything, let alone care for someone else.
The stress from caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be particularly damaging since it is typically a chronic, long-term challenge. You may face years, or even decades, of caregiving responsibilities. It can be even more discouraging when there’s no hope that your family member will get better.
Without adequate help and support, you may become vulnerable to a wide range of physical and emotional problems, ranging from heart disease to depression. Other signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout include anxiety, depression, irritability and trouble concentrating. Feeling tired and run down, difficulty sleeping and overreacting to minor situations are other common symptoms. Learning to recognize the signs of caregiver stress and burnout is the first step to dealing with this problem.
Once you have recognized the symptoms of caregiver burnout and you realize that full-time caregiving is no longer a healthy option for you or your loved one, it is time to seek help. Remember, you won’t be able to care for someone else if you don’t take care of yourself. Seeking respite care is vital!
The professional care choices, however, can be equally overwhelming and often, families do not know where to start. They may entertain hiring care inside their home or placing their loved one in an expensive residential community. Those services can be excellent for some, but what if you are not ready for either? You want to keep your loved one living at home, but you just need a break! Are there any other options? There is another option that is unfortunately often overlooked, yet it provides an extremely helpful and affordable solution. Perhaps it is time to consider an adult day program.
Adult day care programs offer your loved one a change of pace and a place to go during the day where they will be safe and supervised by professionally trained care staff. Your loved one will have an opportunity to socialize and participate in activities that keep them active and engaged.
Enrolling your loved one in an adult day program can also help to decrease the risk of dangerous falls and wandering and can reduce the incidence of hospitalizations and readmissions.
The George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers, Inc. is one such day program and offers a dementia-specific program. With its first center nestled right here in the heart of Hillcrest and fondly called “The Little Blue House,” the George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers, Inc. is a hidden gem in San Diego. Founded by Joy Glenner and the late Dr. George G. Glenner, the famous researcher and physician who discovered the link between the beta-amyloid protein and Alzheimer’s, this center offers respite for distraught caregivers.
A day program allows your loved one to continue to live at home while still receiving the expert care and socialization they need during the daytime hours. It simultaneously allows you, as the caregiver, to get the break that is essential for your own health.
— Lisa D. Tyburski is the chief marketing officer for the George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers. The Hillcrest Glenner Center is located on the corner of 4th Avenue and Pennsylvania and is open Monday- Friday, 8:45 a.m.-5:15 p.m. As a local nonprofit organization, the Glenner Center’s mission is to provide affordable and accessible adult day care and their full day rate is less than $12 per hour for hands on, expert care with supervision by a registered nurse. They accept long-term care insurance and veteran’s benefits as well.