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Bay Aging: Caregivers need time for themselves

by Jean M. Duggan
Senior Vice President

This is the time of year where we promise to make changes and improvements to live better and healthier. This also is a time when caregivers should reassess their tremendous responsibilities toward the people they are caring for and the effects caregiving has on the entire family—and in particular—the caregiver. Caregiving for many amounts to a part-time job, 18 hours on average—often on top of full-time employment.

With all these responsibilities, probably one of the hardest things caregivers have to do is find some guilt-free time for themselves. I cannot stress enough how important it is to maintain your physical, emotional and mental health. If you don’t take care of yourself, eventually you can’t take care of anyone else.

It isn’t only about things like missing or canceling medical appointments—it’s about getting enough sleep, eating properly and doing those things that make you feel good about yourself. There are many issues to consider and I’d like to share some with you.

Don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself. Find things that you really enjoy doing and do them as often as possible. Treat yourself well. Make your living area comfortable and pleasant. Enjoy lots of light and fresh air. Find constructive ways to get rid of anger and frustration—clean closets and organize things like your kitchen, your desk or closet. Wear clothes you like and know you look good in. Smile more and walk with confidence. Laughter is a great release—so is a good cry. Exercise, which can be anything from walking to gardening.

Caregivers in the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck also have an exceptional outside option for caregiver relief—the adult daybreak centers. Three centers are available to provide professional, quality day care for adults 18 years and older.

Bay Aging’s adult daybreak centers are not sad places to send your loved ones to when you need a break. They are quite the opposite! They are happy places where people receive care from trained, enthusiastic and dedicated staff. Participants have many opportunities for social interaction with peers who are accepting and take part in many stimulating and meaningful activities including visits from pet therapy groups and individuals, church groups, public library and volunteers who help with crafts and activities. In other words—they have a lot of fun!

On the serious side, participants receive dignified assistance with dressing, toileting and feeding. They enjoy USDA approved breakfast, lunch and snacks each day and periods of rest and relaxation as needed. Bay Transit is also available to provide transportation to and from the centers.

How often people go to the center depends on the needs of the caregiver, the person being cared for, and the family. Visits can be short-term or more frequent. Adult day health services are rendered on a sliding fee scale basis, reimbursed through Medicaid. Long-term care insurance can also cover adult daycare services. Check your policy to be certain.

How will you know if this is the right fit for you and your loved one? Visit the center nearest you! Centers are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 454 Main Street (Bethany United Methodist Church), Reedville (804-453-3332); 5873 Fiddlers Green Road in Gloucester (804-695-9008); and 1415C Tappahannock Boulevard in Tappahannock (804-445-8711)

Be good to yourself! For more information on adult daycare or any of our other services, please call toll free at 1-800-493-0238 on the Northern Neck and 1-800-693-6109 on the Middle Peninsula.

posted 01.06.2010

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