When a spouse or partner is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, the responsibilities of caring for their needs in a new way can add stress to your lifestyle and tension to your relationship. The dynamics of caring for a spouse are different than caring for a parent, as the emotional support you offered each other may threaten to weaken with their disease. However, spousal caregivers can have hope as they learn to find support from other resources to help them through their caregiving journey.
Rob Low, Community Relations Director at Clarity Pointe™ Pensacola, a memory care assisted living community in Pensacola, Florida, says, “Caring for a spouse with dementia is uniquely challenging. Not only do caregivers struggle with changing roles in the home, but they can experience intense emotional difficulties as they learn to cope with their circumstances. Spousal caregivers may feel painfully alone as pieces of their partner change or disappear with memory loss. That’s why it’s so important for caregivers to find support throughout their community to help them through the toughest parts of caregiving.”
Where to Look for Support
When it comes to caring for a loved one with dementia, you should never have to feel like you’re on your own. From family and friends to organizations dedicated to helping those with memory loss, caregivers have multiple resources available for finding the help they need as they care for a spouse. The Alzheimer’s Association® even has an entire section of their website dedicated to caregiver education and support. If you’re looking for assistance, consider utilizing the following resources:
- Family & Friends – Members of your family and close friends can offer a variety support, from helping out with caregiving tasks to lending an ear. Often times, family members want to help out in some way, but may not know how to ask. When you reach out to the people around you, you may be surprised by how much support you receive.
- Local Support Groups – While speaking to family and friends about the challenges of caregiving may provide some relief, it also helps to seek support from others who understand exactly what you’re going through. Joining a local support group for family caregivers is a great way to share your concerns, find advice, and hear from others who have gone through similar experiences. A support group can be a much-needed reminder that you are not alone.
- Home Care Services – You may feel as though you have to do it all: attend to your spouse’s physical needs, keep the house in order, maintain social connections, etc. But, when we try to take everything on ourselves, we risk the consequences of caregiver burnout. It’s okay to pass on some responsibilities to others. Home care services can help relieve some of your burdens by weekly housekeeping or taking on aspects of your loved one’s care.
- Meal Programs – In the same vein, having someone else take care of preparing meals can take a stressful, time-consuming item off your to-do list. Consider signing up you and your partner for a local meal-delivery service like Meals on Wheels, or ask family members if they would share a meal with you and help with the cooking.
- Adult Day Programs – If you work and don’t want to leave your spouse alone, many senior living communities offer adult day services for loved ones who need the safety and support from a caregiver when theirs can’t be there. Adult day programs offer loved ones social and recreational activities, assistance from trained care staff, meals, places to rest and a change of scenery. Even if you just need a day to catch up on errands or housework, adult day programs can offer you the respite support you need.
- Caregiver Education & Training – Organizations such at the Alzheimer’s Association® and local memory care communities often provide free resources for caregivers to learn about dementia and discover the latest techniques of caregiving. For example, Clarity Pointe Pensacola offers regular educational events for caregivers of those with memory loss on topics such as relieving caregiver stress, understanding brain health, managing challenging behavioral changes in your loved one and more.
- Elder Law Attorneys – To ensure your partner’s legal and financial affairs are in order, it’s wise to meet with an elder law attorney before their disease progresses further. An expert can help you and your spouse legalize their wishes for long-term care, prepare wills and settle any financial arrangements. While it may seem soon to think about such things, preparing legal plans now is better than waiting until your loved one’s memory loss makes the tasks much more difficult.
- Full-Time Memory Care – If or when the time comes when your spouse’s care needs exceed your abilities, you can find the support you both need at a full-time memory care community. Your partner will be taken care of by specially trained professionals, and you will regain the capacity to spend time with your spouse without the stress of caring for their every need. At Clarity Pointe, we focus our care not just on enhancing our residents’ quality of life, but include their families and loved ones as recipients of our support as well.
Making a Difference Through Family Connections
As a free-standing community dedicated solely to those with memory loss, Clarity Pointe Pensacola is proud to stand out for involving family members as a major component of its comprehensive memory care approach. “Families are a huge contributor to their loved one’s success,” says Low. “Family members help us learn about their loved ones so we can create personalized care plans and programming. But we also help them. Our community is built for supporting everyone affected by the challenges of memory loss. Our team understands what family caregivers have gone through to get to the point of needing full-time, professional care, and we’re ready to support the rest of their journey and help them find the joy they deserve.”
If you would like to learn more about Clarity Pointe and other valuable community resources that can help you as a caregiver, contact our team today.
Clarity Pointe™ … Our Difference is Clear
Clarity Pointe™’s Specialized Memory Care “Living” Neighborhoods are truly changing lives for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias – and for those who love them. At Clarity Pointe, our mission is to ensure our residents lead connected and rewarding lives.
Unlike other providers that offer a secure memory care wing in a skilled nursing or assisted living center, Clarity Pointe Pensacola offers three free-standing, purpose-built memory care communities that are solely and entirely dedicated to memory care assisted living. Our communities blend luxurious surroundings with specialized care that is individualized to each resident and delivered by a compassionate, expert team of professionals.
We stay current on the latest trends and advancements in Alzheimer’s care and implement them into our residents’ care plans. Always moving forward, we combine the latest in evidence-based programming with luxurious, residential living and compassionate respectful care.
For each of our residents, we offer a life that is engaging, fulfilling, inspiring and meaningful.