6 Reasons Why Dementia Caregivers Don’t Take Breaks

1. “I do fine without taking breaks.”

Dementia caregivers may believe that they do not need breaks, however this is unrealistic for many reasons. With any job, recharging and taking breaks is necessary. Nonstop caregiving causes frustration, worsens health due to stress, and can lead to resentment of the person they are caring for. Taking breaks allows time for their body and stress hormones to recover, decreasing the chance of burnout.

2. “It is not worth the stress of getting them there.”

Dementia caregivers often overlook adult day programs as a possible option, due to previous experiences trying to get their older adults out of the house. Adult day programs allow the caregiver to take a much-needed break. The hassle of transportation is proven to be worth trying adult day programs. These programs are essential for caregivers because they offer necessary breaks and can be utilized long term.

3. “Adult day programs are just daycare, it’s not worth the cost.”

Respite and day programs are worth the cost, despite the belief that it is just “expensive babysitting”. Adult day programs are beneficial for many reasons. It serves as a social outing for people with dementia. It allows for older adults to interact with different people and most programs are full of engaging activities. It might take time to find the right fit, but it is worth finding the program that works for you.

4. “My older adult will not go for this.”

The common belief that older adults will not consider day programs is not always accurate. It may take several weeks for the older adult to become comfortable in a day program, but many older adults end up enjoying the social interactions, as well as the provided activities. Presenting the idea of a day program may be difficult, however if you let them know it is a club or an occupational therapy program recommended by their medical provider, it could help them become open to attending.

5. “Getting help is expensive.”

Programs for adults with dementia may be hard to find, however affordable and free services are out there. There are organizations that search for affordable or no-cost local programs.

Asking family and friends to assist is a good option to take breaks or run errands. Another option is to hire a companion to do activities for a few hours a week. If hiring someone is not possible, investigate community and faith organizations that have volunteers visit older adults.

6. “I trust myself looking after them the best.”

Although you and your older adult have a strong care routine that keeps them happy and safe, you need to prioritize recharging. Feeling anxiety about someone else caring for your older adult is normal but receiving a few hours of help during the week is going to be beneficial long-term. It is not selfish to ask for help because over time, taking breaks will allow you to do your best. Taking breaks is beneficial for adults with dementia because it allows them to have social experiences outside of their usual routine and avoids their caregiver to experience burnout.

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