Caregivers Face Crushing Demands, But Help Isn’t Far Away

 5/10/2016

Dallas News – May 10, 2016 

"For the past five years, Jan Draper has rarely left the side of her husband, Gary, who has Alzheimer’s disease. The full-time caregiving has taken a physical and emotional toll.

So in late December, Jan sought relief by taking short breaks from caregiving. Two to three times a week for six hours at a time, she drops off Gary at Silverado’s Memory Care Community in Southlake. There, her 77-year-old husband gets proper care and enjoys activities such as dancing while Jan does mundane tasks. She goes to the grocery store or runs other errands and even catches up on her sleep.

'It’s so good to breathe life in again,' said Jan, 74, during one of her recent respites.

Draper admits she should have found respite care sooner since Gary’s progressing disease has become more challenging to manage in the past few years. At the same time, 'I would like to keep him close for as long as I can,' she says.

That’s the dilemma facing many caregivers who look after aging spouses or other loved ones with chronic or debilitating diseases: It’s hard to take time off when you’re busy caring for someone else. In some cases, caregivers even feel guilty taking a break.

Yet it’s crucial to get away and avoid burnout — or worse. Several studies and surveys have shown that caregivers suffer from health issues and stress. A 2015 report from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP found that 38 percent of caregivers report high emotional stress from the demands of caregiving..."

Read the full story here.

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