Resources for the Care Provider

One of the hardest things about caring for someone with dementia is meeting the needs of the care provider.  Care providers typically are friends and family members of the person with dementia.  They are untrained and are not professional care providers.

HBO has produced a number of films about Alzheimer's Disease.  One of the films in the series is called Caregivers and it gives some good and moving insight with just a few of the challenges faced by care providers.

As their loved one declines, they may have to stop working outside the home to provide care around the clock.  This will lead to social isolation which will increase their stress.  It could also lead to others who are not full-time care providers underestimating the amount of effort is involved in caring for the afflicted individual.

As we've started to see with Lyn, the care provider's private space is reduced as the individual, in this case my sister, seeks more and more reassurance that everything is OK.  Bathroom breaks may be interrupted, the care provider is shadowed and has a pair of eyes constantly looking over their shoulder and their sleep may be interrupted.  I remember as a new parent that I was told repeatedly that I would loose up to 750 hours of sleep in the first year of my child's life alone.  How much sleep is lost by the care provider as their loved one declines month after month?  The loss of sleep alone would start to take a toll on any care provider.

Care providers need strong social and support networks upon which to rely during the time they are tending to their loved one.  They may find their faith community plays an important role in providing this support.  However, they may find a more understanding support structure by reaching out to a local Alzheimer's or dementia support group.

Support groups are not the only resources available to the care provider.  There are numerous on-line resources available to them.  While books are tremendously informative, an on-line resource may provide a level of interaction, a give and take, from which the care provider can benefit.

On-line Resources for Care Providers:
National Family Caregivers Association provides resources and a free community for care providers to connect to each other.

Strength for Caring provides articles as well as message boards and care provider stories.  This site appears to be sponsored by Johnson and Johnson.

Family Caregiver Alliance provides email groups for care providers in addition to a plethora of articles.


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