It was pouring down rain the morning of the first meeting. Pam stopped by my office and said, “I hope the rain doesn’t discourage people from attending.” She was not disappointed. A few minutes before the meeting was scheduled to begin they started arriving, running for the door with umbrellas in hand. Pam had hoped 8 people would show up. When the meeting started there were 16.
Most were the caregivers of older adults who attend our Adult Day Services program, and this large attendance on a rainy day was an indication of just how much caregivers need someone to talk to. Just knowing that there are others who share the challenges you experience as a caregiver can be comforting and reassuring.
It is estimated that over 25 million households in the U.S. have a family member or friend providing supportive care for a frail older person. Often these individuals do not see themselves as caregivers. They are just doing what needs to be done, providing loving care and often at great personal sacrifice.
The sacrifices caregivers make can be detrimental to their own physical and emotional well being. The most common situation is an older person caring for his or her spouse who has Alzheimer’s disease.
These individuals often have serious health issues of their own and can quickly find themselves overwhelmed with the burden (although they would never call it a burden) of providing 24 hours a day, 7 days per week care. They place the needs of their life’s companion ahead of their own because they love them dearly and would not have it any other way.
Many have family members who can help them cope with the stress of caregiving, which is a tremendous blessing. But some have little or no family support. For these individuals Clermont Senior Services is here to help. The major services we provide to support caregivers include:
Caregiver Support Groups: Pam Scott is the person to call for information about support groups (724-1255.) She can also provide resource materials and link you to other organizations that can help.
Respite Care: This service is part of our Home Care program. It is for individuals caring for a loved one who cannot be left alone. A home health aide will come to your home one day each week for four hours to provide a respite for you to perform essential errands, or to just relax.
Adult Day Service: Also known as the Lois Brown Dale Welcome Center, this is a day activities program located in the senior wing of the YMCA near Batavia. Most participants attend several days each week, enjoying the physical and social benefits of the program. The Adult Day Services program enriches the quality of life for caregivers as well as the participants. In some cases, it allows younger caregivers to continue their regular employment.
Transportation: Seven vans provide daily transportation to the Adult Day Services program transporting participants from throughout the county. Also, caregivers can ride the van with the older person they care for to attend medical appointments. The transportation service can also prevent family members from having to take off work to take mom or dad to the doctor.
Home Repair Services: Modifying a home to accommodate the changing needs of a frail older person can help with their care, such as grab bars in the bathroom or a ramp to make the home accessible.
If you know someone who could benefit from these or other services, please give us a call at (513) 724-1255.
George Brown is the executive director of Clermont Senior Services.