Coordinating a Caregiving Team for Your Loved One Needing Memory Care

Coordinating a Caregiving Team for Your Loved One Needing Memory Care

“If you’ve assumed the role of primary caregiver for a loved one requiring memory care, it is very important that you begin organizing a caregiver support team as soon as possible,” says Susan Irrgang, Executive Director of Saunders House, located in Wynnewood, PA.

Memory care authorities explain that providing daily memory care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia can be extremely taxing on your physical, emotional and spiritual health – even to the point of causing exhaustion and ‘burnout.’

“In fact,” Susan states, “some memory care experts have even referred to primary caregivers as “the second patients” or “the silent victims” of Alzheimer’s as they attempt to balance their caregiving duties with the competing demands of home, career and family – not to mention their need for personal time and relaxation.”

Additionally, a national study by the NIH revealed that caregivers report significantly poorer health than non-caregivers. Caregivers are also more likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and excess weight as well as depression or anxiety. Thus, creating your own caregiving team is a healthy investment of time for both you and the person you’re caring for.

Determining Your Caregiving Support Needs

To begin organizing an effective caregiver support team and plan of care, memory care experts recommend the following steps:

  • Learn about the disease. Read up on progressive memory loss so you know what you’re dealing with and what to expect in each of its stages. The Alzheimer’s Association is an excellent source of information.
  • List all tasks you can use help with. No one can do it all alone and many people are happy to help out if you give them specific requests.
  • Match your needs with available resources. Make a spreadsheet or calendar listing your needs for assistance with people and other resources you can count on for help. For example: Rebecca will pick up Mom’s prescriptions the first Friday of every month.
  • Research other specialized resources. Take some time to research other potential sources, local and national, that could be helpful. 

Organizing and Coordinating Your Caregiver Team

To help you get started on organizing your caregiver support team, leading memory care authorities such as the Alzheimer’s Association and the Mayo Clinic recommend considering the following options:

  • Other Family Members – Turning to your family, especially any siblings, is your first option if you’re looking after a parent. Though you may be the lead caregiver, it’s critical to let others know that they need to be involved as well. Other relatives, such as your spouse, children, aunts, uncles and cousins, should also be considered if they are available.
  • Close Friends and Neighbors – Friends and neighbors with whom you have close relationships can be another valuable source of help. However, always be clear and specific about what you would like them to do, and about how long you’ll need their help. People are more likely to assist you if the task and time commitment are clearly defined for them.
  • Community Support Organizations – Many communities have service groups set up specifically to help caregivers. Saunders House lists many of the memory care support groups available to you in our Family Resource Guide Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairments.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s Caregiver Center and Community Resource Finder are also good places to search.  Sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association, Saunders House hosts a Family-Caregiver Support Group on the second Wednesday of each month from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM.  The meeting is open to the public and family, friends, neighbors and co-workers are welcome.  Additionally, local churches, senior centers and government agencies can also provide useful information. By taking some time to look, you may discover an entire network of services available to help.

  • Hired Assistance – If family and friends are an insufficient option and you have the financial resources, you might consider hiring people to be a part of your caregiving team. This could include: assistive care, house cleaning, lawn care, household repairs or transportation services. Just be sure the people you hire are competent and trustworthy.
  • Stress Management Support – Coping with the increased level of physical and emotional stress in your life is extremely important – both for you and the person you are taking care of. Learning and applying the expert’s strategies to manage stress is vital to your own health and well-being.
  • Respite Care Services – Since caregivers need periodic breaks from the challenges of caregiving, you should identify a resource that can provide respite care support. For example, a weekend or longer break provided by a family member or a professional respite care provider, such as Saunders House, can give you time away from your duties to “recharge your batteries.” Don’t let being a caregiver define your life!
  •  24/7 Professional Memory Care – There normally comes a point in the progression of memory loss when it is no longer possible for at-home caregivers to provide the needed level of memory care and safety in the home environment.

Memory Care with Dignity, Respect and Life Enrichment

“If your loved one’s memory care needs have grown beyond what you can safely and appropriately provide at home,” says Susan, “there is the safety, comfort and personalized care of Saunders House. 

Voted Best of the Main Line for 2016, Saunders House understands that loved ones’ requiring memory care have unique needs that demand special care and attention. To meet this need, we have Care Traditions, a dedicated program to deliver specialized care and support with dignity to our memory care residents and their families.

In addition to offering safety and comfort, Care Traditions is committed to enhancing the quality of life of our memory care residents. Within our secure Care Traditions floor, certified therapeutic recreation specialists provide holistic engagement therapies that stimulate the mind, body and spirit. We also encourage our residents to engage with others and enjoy enriching activities

At Care Traditions, we are committed to making each new day as pleasant, meaningful and life-enriching as possible for your loved one.

We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog on memory care and coordinating your caregiving team, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

Discover Our Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

Located adjacent to Lankenau Medical Center, Saunders House – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has a celebrated tradition of providing exceptional care and services to seniors and their families. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue. 

Today, Saunders House offers a range of services – including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, restorative care, memory care, respite care and specialized care for individuals with visual impairments – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing.

For more information on Saunders House, Care Traditions and other professional services, please call us today at (610) 658-5100 or contact us online.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Saunders House and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.

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