As The Primary Caregiver for a Dementia Patient, How Can I Get a Break?


Taking care of a loved one who has dementia is a huge responsibility and is very time-consuming. It can bring a lot of stress and frustration. You devote all your time to your loved one and you don’t have time for yourself anymore. You always wonder: when can I take a break? It is not an easy decision, but sometimes it has to be made for your own well being.

There are different options to consider. If your loved one is in the early or mid stages of dementia you can consider private duty home care. Many agencies throughout the nation and in your community provide this service. A list of providers can be obtained on Google, an Alzheimer Association of your country or your doctor.

The private duty home care can include services like bathing, chatting, taking your loved one to appointments, shopping, meal preparation and other day-to-day essentials. This assistance will definitely help you in getting more free time.

In the Netherlands, we also have organizations who provide volunteers who can babysit. So if you want to go to the hairdresser or do some shopping, or even when you want to go on a holiday for a week, they can stay with your loved one. Find out locally if you have organizations like this.

Make sure you check the references. Meet and talk with the prospective caregiver and see how the person interacts with your loved one. Touching is very important. It could be a pat on the back or gently rubbing the hand. You can even ask your loved one for input about the person. People with dementia are often perceptive and intuitive.

You might also try adult day care. The centres usually operate from 8.00 to 17.00h. It is a good environment for socialization and keeping your loved one active and awake during the day. Your loved one will be able to interact with others during the day and will be back home for the night. If you decide to look for an adult day care, you will want to make sure the staff is experienced in caring for dementia patients.

And don’t forget! You have family members as well that can help you. A loved one who has dementia affects all family members. So if family members offer to help, take advantage of it.

. Do not feel guilty because you want to take a break. You deserve it!