Q. My husband is 67 years old and has dementia. I work full-time, and must be available for meetings and have time to work at home. We have a caregiver who comes in a few days a week for just a few hours, but I need more help. Can you suggest ways to have full-time assistance that isn't so expensive?
Anna P., West Palm Beach
A. Have you considered adult day-care services? Adult day-care centers provide structured activities and social engagement in a safe environment for those who require close supervision. Many specialize in providing day care for Alzheimers’ patients. This could be a good solution for you.
There are more than 3,500 day-care centers throughout the country operated by private companies, nonprofit organizations or government agencies and while they can be pricey — up to $60 a day including meals and transportation — they cost significantly less per day than eight hours of companion care at home. There are day-care centers to meet all budgets and many, even privately run ones, take Medicaid waivers.
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Adult day care for those with dementia can provide stress relief for spouses and other family caregivers. A good resource for this is the National Association of Adult Day Care Services ( www.Nadsa.org) where you'll find information on how to choose an individual center, how to make certain it addresses your loved ones' needs, and links to states’ day-care associations, along with lists of individual centers.
There are other programs that provide some respite care for family caregivers that operate through state, county and municipal government agencies. A good place to start searching for such programs would be the Administration on Aging's website ( www.AOA.Gov). This will lead you to information on programs in your area.
As you start exploring different resources, you'll meet many like-minded individuals who are traveling the same path and will share their experiences. Always be ready to take notes.
Nancy Stein, Ph.D., is the founder of SeniorityMatters.com, a local caregiver advisory and referral service for South Florida seniors and their families. You can contact her at nancy@ senioritymatters.com.