My dad has Alzheimer’s Disease, and I think my mom needs some regular
breaks. But I can’t always provide that. I’ve heard about Adult Day Care, or
Day Respite, Programs. I don’t know if my mom would ever go for it – let
alone my dad. How can I get them to try it?”
Trying something new
Trying out a new service – whether it is respite, a home chore worker, or home-delivered meals –
can feel stressful. As a caregiver, learning the vast array of services designed to help you, your
loved one, and your family is important. And viewing the trial of a new service as “something new
to experience and try out” can be a helpful framework.
The word “Respite” refers to a short time of relief or rest. It allows the caregiver to take a break
from typical daily duties while the person with dementia receives care and socialization from
Respite can be provided in many different ways. It can be provided in home, at an agency, or at
a residential care facility. It can be offered for part of day, an entire day, evening, or overnight. It
can be provided by paid staff, volunteers, friends or family. It can occur occasionally or on a
Raise the Issue
If you believe your mom and your dad could benefit from Respite services, it would be important
for you to raise the issue. Presenting information in a matter-of-fact manner can be helpful.
Some caregivers are surprised to hear that services like Adult Day Care are available, as they’ve
had no previous experience with it. Then, do some investigating about options.
Checking out the Options.
In Kent County, we have a number of options for Respite. Adult Day Services in an out-of-home
setting are provided by CareTree Adult Services & Friendship Place (of Gerontology Network,
phone 616/456.6135) and by Side-by-Side (of Hope Network Behavioral Health Services at
Family Life Center, phone 616/235-2910.37). Stop in and see the programs, meet the staff, get a
tour, and get your questioned answered. (See Jim Woudstra & Louise Kempker’s article “Top 10
Questions to Ask About Adult Day Respite” in this issue)
Suzann Ogland-Hand, PhD