As aging seniors are enjoying their Golden Years, sometimes their health can begin to deteriorate. Frailty and disease can limit a loved one’s daily activities. Family caregivers are typically the first ones to offer support, but who supports the caregivers? The State of Wisconsin offers several outlets to caregivers including respite care and support groups.
If you need to talk with others caring for aging family members or just need a break for a day, Milwaukee is the site of several alternatives and resources.
Caregiving can take its toll on your health and well-being. Many family caregivers are unaware they are feeling stress from the responsibility until it takes away from their physical and emotional health. Taking a day off is necessary and therapeutic.
In-home respite care is a popular option that allows your family member to remain in the home for the day with a home health aide. These aides provide non-medical care and assist with activities of daily living. Legitimate companies in Milwaukee, like Home Helpers, provide insured and bonded aides that are carefully screened before employment. A typical home health aide can:
Assist with bathing, grooming, and dressing Administer medication Prepare meals Do light housekeeping and laundry Run errands and grocery shop Provide companionship while you are away
Many companies also provide transportation to medical appointments. The average daily rate for an aide in Milwaukee is $184 for eight hours of help.
Residential respite care is similar, but takes place in an assisted living community or nursing home, also known as a skilled nursing facility. These diverse communities offer a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of socialization and activities. Communities, like Eastcastle Place and Villa St. Francis, provide meals and indoor and outdoor common areas. Some also have on-site beauty and barber services.
According to the Genworth 2015 Cost of Care Survey for Wisconsin, a one bedroom apartment in an assisted living community averages $136 per day. The median daily rate for a private room at a nursing home is $333.
Adult day programs, also known as adult day care centers, provide entertainment as well as care while you are away for the day, either at work or taking a personal day. According to the Wisconsin Adult Day Services Association, more than half of the participants are women and 17 percent of all total participants are over age 80.
The centers typically offer activities, crafts, cooking, special guests, events, field trips, caregiver support groups, counseling, and more. More than 80 percent of centers keep a licensed practical or registered nurse on duty and some provide transportation to the center.
Adult day programs are one of the least expensive alternatives. In the Milwaukee, Waukesha, and West Allis areas, the daily rate on average is $65.
Caregiver support groups share experiences, advice, and resources available in Milwaukee with each other. Knowing that other people are going through the same challenges can be therapeutic. Milwaukee offers support groups to help a caregiver become better equipped to handle the responsibility for as long as possible.
Interfaith Older Adult Programs features a free Caregiver Resource Center. The program is located in the city and provides living options and senior care information, respite services, important contact information, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia support, retreats and conferences for caregivers, and other resources. They offer several caregiver support groups in the area, either in-person or an over the phone conference call.
If you need support while caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association sponsors caregiver support groups in the area. The groups are small, usually with only 4 to 12 participants in each group. These groups meet for one to two hours to share coping methods, experiences, and resources. The Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter serves Milwaukee and offers several groups, including a men's only group. The groups meet once a month.
If you are part of the “sandwich generation,” then you know how difficult trying to care for an aging loved one while caring for children can be to the average caregiver. Full-time care is available in the form of in-home care, assisted living communities, and skilled nursing facilities.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services offers a list of resources to help you navigate the living options and financial planning. If you are feeling overwhelmed with caregiving, speak to your family physician, clergyman, support group, or other family members.
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