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Caring for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s: A Guide to Resources and Support

Caring for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s: A Guide to Resources and Support

If you are caring for a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you are not alone. More than six million people in the United States are currently living with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. Most caregivers for people living with dementia are family members, which is beneficial because familiarity can be important for someone struggling with memory loss, and family members can provide loving and compassionate care. However, caring for a loved one with dementia can also present a variety of challenges for someone who is not a professional caregiver.

Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you. One of the best things you can do is join an Alzheimer’s support group to connect with other families in a similar situation. You can use the Alzheimer’s Association’s online tool to locate a virtual or in-person support group near you, or you can sign up for their online community for people living with dementia and their caregivers. Whether you choose in-person or online, these support groups are facilitated by trained professionals. 

Local community and senior centers, memory care communities, and hospitals might also have lists of local Alzheimer’s support groups for caregivers. Joining an Alzheimer’s support group is vital so that you can ask questions, get advice, receive emotional support, and share information about practical resources and tools.

Below, you’ll find an overview of some of these tools and resources that might be useful to you and your family, including information about memory care and respite care, both available at Solterra Senior Living communities.

Online Resources

Given the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease, there are several excellent online resources. The following are a few of the most comprehensive, but a quick Google search may yield many more.

The Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association is an outstanding resource for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, as well as their family members, friends, and caregivers. On their website, you can find information about the disease itself, including symptoms to look for in different stages, treatment options, statistics, current research, how Alzheimer’s affects different groups (e.g., Asian Americans, Hispanics, veterans, etc.), where to find an Alzheimer’s support group, and lists of other resources for caregivers. They also have a toll-free 24/7 helpline where you can speak with a clinician regarding any questions.

The Federal government, through the National Institutes of Health, provides tips for caring for someone with dementia, information about the disease itself and living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and access to clinical trials on its website.

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

Founded by an Alzheimer’s caregiver, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America focuses on connecting families affected by Alzheimer’s disease with the services, support, education, and information they need to live well. In addition to their national hotline, they hold dementia care training and educational workshops and offer a memory screening program, which can be an important first step in diagnosis.

Home Health Aides and In-Home Care Services

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be both rewarding and challenging. It’s important to remember to take care of yourself and ask for help when needed. If you are caring for your loved one in their home or yours, you might consider hiring part-time professional caregivers like home health aides to assist your loved one with activities of daily living like bathing and grooming, meal preparation, and medication management. 

Services like Meals on Wheels are also a good option. Some in-home care agencies also provide companionship services where a trained caregiver will spend time doing enjoyable activities with your loved one.

Respite Care

One resource that is often overlooked is respite care. Respite care is short-term, temporary care in a secure environment for your loved one when you need time off. For instance, if you want to go on a college visit with your child, attend a wedding, plan a family vacation, schedule surgery and recover, etc., you want peace of mind that your loved one is receiving the care they need while you are away. That’s where respite care comes in.

You might look into different options for respite care, such as:

  • In-home care services like the ones discussed above might include personal care, meal preparation, companionship, and medical care
  • Adult daycare centers that often offer programs of guided activities, cognitive therapy, transportation, and meals
  • Long-term continuing care communities like Solterra Senior Living give families access to all the same services and amenities that full-time residents enjoy, including nutritious and delicious meals, assistance with activities of daily living, art and music therapy, game nights, social activities, housekeeping, exercise programs, and more.

It’s a good idea to check out these respite care options before you need them so that you have a plan in case an emergency arises and you aren’t available to care for your loved one. The U.S. Administration on Aging has an eldercare locator tool that will connect you with community resources like in-home care and adult daycare centers in your area. 

You should also establish a network of people who can help you in an emergency, if possible. Talk to friends, family members, neighbors, your loved one’s healthcare providers, etc., to make sure you have contact information and that they are willing and able to help. 

Memory Care

Dementia can have a wide range of symptoms and can vary from day to day, which is why many senior caregivers choose additional training in memory care. Memory care specialists learn extensively about the different stages of dementia, acquire new communication skills, and engage in cognitive therapy to keep the mind sharp and active. Memory care services are available in many drop-in adult daycare settings, from some in-home service agencies, and in residential memory care communities.

Caregiving is Personal at Solterra Senior Living

Dementia caregiving is a big task. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Joining an Alzheimer’s support group is a great first step. Finding other places to get help when needed, like the respite care and memory care communities at Solterra Senior Living, is another. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a tour, please contact one of our communities. We genuinely believe in nourishing the mind, body, and soul of each of our residents and respite care visitors, so you can rest easy knowing that your loved one is well-cared for.