To continue caregiving you will need to organize respite care: a break, a chance to do something for yourself, to get away from the demands placed on you.
Regular relief can help to rejuvenate your mind and body by giving you a break, as well as providing you with practical support. Asking for that help, however, can be a hard thing to do. You may feel that you are imposing on others, or that you are the only one who can -- or should -- provide care to the person with dementia. The reality is that no one can provide care alone. Taking time for yourself now -- even if it is for an hour or two -- can help you be a better caregiver when you return.
If you don't have family members or friends to give you a hand, you may be able to find a volunteer through your local place of worship or community centre.
In-home respite programs bring trained individuals into your home to provide care. Depending on the program, the worker may provide companionship, assistance with personal care (bathing, dressing), help with housework, etc. Check with your local Alzheimer Society about programs in your area.
Many communities have adult day programs. In these, the person with dementia can participate in a broad range of activities and have a chance to socialize with others. These programs usually include a meal and transportation, and may be available half days, or from one to five full days a week.
Some long-term care facilities have respite beds, so caregivers in the community can get some relief. Ask your local Alzheimer Society for information about where to find more about respite programs.
Last Updated: 12/16/11