The demands of caring for an aging senior with symptoms of dementia on a full-time basis can take a grand toll on the strongest and most fit caregivers. Stress takes its toll on every aspect of their lives including their jobs, their family relationships, and friendships. Exhaustion leads to poor decision-making, frustration, and burnout.
Without knowing how long this stage of life will last, it’s important for family caregivers to recharge their batteries when they can so that they can take better care of the ones they love. Setting up a program for adult day care or respite care can go a long way towards relieving the stress that accompanies this period of life.
Caregivers can set up an adult day care program from one to five days per week, depending upon their schedule and needs. The programs are designed to provide services and activities that give seniors a sense of self-worth while allowing them to maintain as much independence as possible.
Adult day programs generally include meals. Meal programs vary and may include hot breakfast and lunch, as well as healthy snacks. Some programs allow seniors the opportunity to do some or all of their own cooking in a safe and supervised setting.
Adult day care providers monitor health conditions like checking heart rate, pulse, and blood pressure. Many adult day care programs act as liaison with the senior’s physician to make sure that their health and medical needs are being addressed. Seniors can get assistance with personal care like bathing, toileting, and incontinence. They can also get assistance with grooming such as hair care, dressing, and shaving. Some of the programs offer programs that are specifically geared towards elders with dementia symptoms who need care and supervision for wandering.
Programs keep able-bodied seniors active with exercise programs for all levels of ability. They also offer enrichment activities such as music, entertainment, pet therapy, intergenerational programs, crafts, games, and sometimes gardening.
Adult day care programs also typically offer help for caregiving families. They serve as an informational and referral service. They may also offer educational classes and support groups for caregivers.
The Erie County Department of Senior Services contracts with nine agencies that provide adult day care for aging seniors. Services are available on a limited basis when funds are available. Families who may not otherwise be able to access adult day care programs may be able to receive financial assistance for adult day care programs and respite care. Case managers come to the senior’s home to make an assessment of financial options and to identify the most appropriate services. This assessment is available at no cost. Interested people may call the department at (716) 858-8526.
Most of the programs operate Monday through Friday from early morning until early evening. The Department of Senior Services may also be able to help with transportation.
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