If you’re thinking of becoming the primary dementia caregiver for your loved one, you’ll need to take some time to decide whether you’re able to provide proper and comprehensive dementia home care. Some of the key issues to consider include caregiver stress, financial feasibility and household safety issues.
Dementia Caregiver Stress
In many cases, caregivers assume too much of the burden of dementia care and burn out from stress and exhaustion as a result. Many dementia caregivers feel guilty taking a break from their caregiving tasks, but if you’re serious about dementia home care, you’ll have to treat it more like a marathon than a sprint.
Dementia care can last for many years and you’ll have to pace yourself if you want to continue providing home health care. Ask other family members for help or take advantage of professional home health care and respite care services that provide daily or as-needed assistance within the home.
Financial Feasibility of Dementia Home Care
Another question you’ll have to ask yourself is, “Am I financially prepared for dementia home care?” As a dementia caregiver, you may have to cover the cost of prescription medication, transportation, respite care services and a host of other expenses. This may be especially difficult if you were working but had to cut back on your hours or stop working altogether to provide dementia care for your loved one.
Talk to other family members about what financial assistance they may be able to provide. Learn about potential tax credits for your loved one’s medical expenses or for your own caregiving services.
Dementia Home Care Safety Issues
Because wandering is a common symptom of dementia, your home may present many hazards for your loved one. Before you’re ready for home health care, you must ensure all potential tripping and falling hazards are minimized and that all medications, sharp objects and weapons are safely locked away. You may even want to install an alarm system that warns you if your loved one leaves the house.
You may be able to help reduce wandering by labeling rooms in the house, such as the bathroom, to make them easier to find. Creating a safe wandering zone in a particular room or in the backyard may also help.
Clinical Tools, Inc. (2010). Safety. Retrieved January 14, 2011, from http://www.dementiacarecentral.com/node/560
Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation. (2011). Home modification. Retrieved January 14, 2011, from http://www.alzinfo.org/08/treatment-care/home-modification
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2011). Caregivers: In depth. Retrieved January 14, 2011, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/caregivers/MY00395/TAB=indepth
Nice, D. (2010). Avoid a financial hit when caregiving. Retrieved January 14, 2011, from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/retirement-rrsps/women-and-retirement/avoid-a-financial-hit-when-caregiving/article1800531/