Why its Important to Find Respite When Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s

Caring for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia is more than a full-time job. It’s 24 hours a day, every day of the week. That’s not a pace anyone can maintain for long.

As a Kansas City caregiver, you may feel guilty wanting to occasionally get away. But here’s why you shouldn’t. Alzheimer’s Disease is stressful not only for the person who has it, but for the entire family. My mom had Alzheimer’s, so I know. The disease seemed to be constantly evolving, and it was difficult to figure out how to keep up the pace from one day to the next. It was tough enough with six of us. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to go through all that by myself.

And let’s face it. You’re not going to be any good to your loved one in the long run if you’re living in a constant state of stress or you becoming physically ill from working yourself too hard.

All that aside, what about your life? After all you’ve been through, don’t you deserve to take some time off for yourself? Wouldn’t it be nice to just:

  • Take a bubble bath?
  • Catch up on errands?
  • Visit with friends?
  • Go to the spa?
  • Read a good book?
  • Go see a movie?
  • Enjoy whatever hobby you’ve had to put aside while caregiving?

If you’re not as lucky as I was to have siblings who can give you a break when you need one, you’ll have to look elsewhere for respite care. Here are some potential resources:

  • Other family members. Do you have a cousin, aunt, uncle, or other relative who lives in Kansas City, Overland Park, or Leawood? Maybe they’d be willing to stop by once or twice a week for an hour or so to give you time to get away.
  • Friends. Do you have any close friends who also know the person you’re caring for? They might also be willing to help.
  • Home care agencies. A reliable Kansas City home care agency can send someone to provide respite and companionship to your loved one whenever you want to get away (and for whatever length of time).
  • Adult day care. There are a number of adult day care agencies in and around Kansas City where you can drop your loved one off for several hours at a time. Although they do engage the people they care for in activities (as do home care providers), the drawback is the day care center is an unfamiliar environment.

If you’re still hesitant to take time off from caregiving because you can’t shake that sense of guilt, consider this. Having someone provide respite care services is not only good for you, as a caregiver, but can also be good for your loved one who has dementia. It can give him (or her) a chance to interact with other people and participate in new activities.