Come On Dad, Don’t you Remember Me?

You live far away, Dad lives in South Florida and has Alzheimer’s Disease. For those who have experienced Alzheimer’s on a personal level, we know how heart wrenching the disease is. We see the people we love disappear. Sometimes they become violent. Sometimes they hurt us accidentally. Sometimes they hurt themselves. They stop talking. They forget how to go to the bathroom. They forget who we are. They forget who they are.

Most people desire to have a family member care for them at home. If you are a long distance caregiver for an Alzheimer’s patient, it is important to ask for help. Alzheimer’s care can be overwhelming. For many caregivers, it can be difficult to accept help from other family members or friends because they feel that they have failed in some way. Becoming over tired and depressed can lead to poor health for you, the caretaker, and added stress for the one you are caring for. If you are uncomfortable accepting help from a family member or friend, consider professional services to provide even just a few hours of respite per week.

Home health care is a service for seniors and disabled persons that is becoming more and more in demand as baby boomers age. Fees are charged hourly or daily in the case of live-in care. Caregivers will come directly to your home for generally a minimum of 4 hours per week. They can provide companionship, direct care, housekeeping and shopping. Do your homework and research carefully to insure that you are working with a reputable company with trained, professional caregivers that are licensed and insured.

Adult Day Care is a second respite option, and scheduling and transportation can be arranged to meet your needs. This can be an enjoyable program for the person you are caring for, as well as providing for you with needed respite.

A third important resource for long distance caregivers is an Geriatric Care Manager that specializes in Alzheimer’s care in South Florida. The GCM is a nurse or social worker who can serve as your local eyes and ears, serve as your “quarterback” for coordinating care, and keep you closely informed.

Regardless of the specific model of care, it is critical that caregivers have specific training in working with Alzheimer’s patients. Experienced Alzheimer’s caregivers understand that at times the patient will be confused, and utilize effective Alzheimer’s caregiving strategies. Depending on the situation, this may include calming tactics, distraction, reminiscence, and specific therapeutic activities.

Remember, if someone reaches out to help you, say yes! Even if it is difficult, the well being of you and your loved one depends upon you staying fit mentally and physically.

For help assessing your individual situation and navigating South Florida Alzheimer’s resources, consider the services of a Geriatric Care Manager. For Geriatric Care Management in South Florida, visit Advocare at

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