Early-stage Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t just affect one person- it can impact a whole family. Suddenly, family members are launched into an unfamiliar role and have to cope with their new situation. Thankfully, in the early stages, there is still time to plan for the future with loved ones. Here are some tips from Alzheimer’s Family Center’s social worker team for when you’re coping with your new role as a caregiver.
The Four Big Benefits of Adult Day Health Care
When trying to be the “perfect caregiver,” it can impact your ability to make informed decisions about the best care for your loved one. While at-home care may be a nice option to think about, it can limit your loved one’s ability to learn and improve their cognitive senses. Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) offers both a safe and healthy environment for people with dementia. By admitting your loved one into an Adult Day Health Care center, you’re not just dropping him/her off for someone else to handle; you’re allowing him/her to socialize with others and preserve independence. Alzheimer’s Family Center (AFC) prides itself on its diverse selection of activities and health services to give caregivers and their loved ones as much comfort as possible. Here are just four benefits that AFC (and Adult Day Health Care in general) offers.
ADHC offers a chance for people with dementia or other disabilities to get out of the house and be on their own in a safe environment. They enjoy control over activities that they partake in, increasing their self-esteem and sense of well-being. It can also help maintain positive relationships between the person and the caregiver. Relationships can often become strained due to stress and agitation on both sides. When you leave your loved one in an Adult Day Health Care, that leaves some alone time for you. You can do some errands or see a friend for coffee without worrying about him/her for a few hours.
You may already know that your loved one participates in physical and occupational therapy each day they attend the Center. What you might not know is that these exercises, while good for the body, mind, and circulatory system, also help maintain core strength, balance, and prevent falls. Over the last 18 months, the research team at AFC conducted an analysis that focused on tracking falls and emergency room visits. We found on the first year of attending ADHC, a greater than 50% decrease in falls and a 33% reduction in ER visits. As caregivers, you know these are BIG benefits. Preventing a fall and staying out of the emergency room are top priorities, as they can be life and death situations.
While it may seem like individual care would be a better option for your loved one, he/she would be missing a big part of the socialization aspect that ADHC has to offer. At Alzheimer’s Family Center, people with dementia can socialize with others just like them. Whether it’s through bingo or physical therapy, patients can thrive through emotional connection.
Improve Overall Well Being
Patients who are stimulated during the day sleep better at night and are less likely have falls at home, and patients who are social and enjoying themselves are less likely to be depressed, and more likely to eat better. These services and benefits translate into much-improved quality of life for both patients and caregivers.
This post was written in collaboration with Dr. Cheryl Alvarez, Psy.D., Director of Clinical Research & Education at Alzheimer’s Family Center.