News / Health

Improving Quality of Life for Alzheimer’s Patients, Caregivers

Improving Quality of Life for Alzheimer’s Patients, Caregiversi
X
March 23, 2013 2:40 PM
As America's elderly population grows, so, too, does the need for specialized care for adults with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. VOA's Faiza Elmasry visited a facility in Fairfax, Virginia, provides that care, and also supports the children and spouses who are the seniors' primary care-givers at home. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Improving Quality of Life for Alzheimer’s Patients, Caregivers

TEXT SIZE - +
Faiza Elmasry
— As America's elderly population grows, so, too, does the need for specialized care for adults with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. A facility in Fairfax, Virginia, provides that care, and also supports the children and spouses who are the seniors' primary care-givers at home.

Linda Roberts' mother - like more than 5 million Americans - has Alzheimer’s.

“I went to visit her five years ago, found out some stuff was going on. I packed her up that weekend and took her home,” said Roberts.

She joined the more than 15 million family members and friends caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. Roberts said it has been devastating to watch her mother struggling with the incurable brain-wasting disease. Being her mother's sole caregiver, she added, also is daunting.

“It’s extremely stressful being a full time caregiver-keeping my patience, trying to over and over repeat things that I need to get done. I think that’s my frustration,” she said.

Two years ago, Roberts found help at the Alzheimer’s Family Day Center, where adults with Alzheimer’s and dementia can spend the day in a supervised, enriching environment… much like a daycare center for young children. The facility is open on weekdays from early in the morning to late in the afternoon.

“It’s really given me time to do things during the day and pursue some hobbies or have some time to myself,” said Howard Simmons, who began bringing his wife to the daycare center three years ago.

“She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in about (20)06. In about '07, '08, I was becoming quite frustrated because when you’re the principal caregiver and they are home, you’re doing everything. You know, I became the cook, the cleaner,” he said.

The retired civil engineer said having his wife here every day eases his mind. He knows she’s in a safe place, taken care of and well-fed.

“We serve breakfast, we serve lunch and two snacks a day,” said Lisa Wright, the facility's program manager. She noted that the staff also provides a wide variety of activities that are therapeutic, and fun.

“We have an artist come in and do just specific art with small groups. We have musical therapy where we have a lady that brings in instruments and they all get to play the instruments. We have a physical therapist here two days a week," said Wright.

"We have a ballroom dancer that comes in. I think that's probably the favorite. We do a lot of mind-challenging games. The other day I stepped in to do some activities and we focused on pairs, so we talked about what comes in pairs. So we do brain exercise type of activities, as well,” said Wright.

Medical care also is available.

“We have a nurse practitioner that comes once a month. We have a fulltime nurse on staff. We can handle almost everything right here during those hours,” said Wright.

In addition, the center offers services for caregivers.

“We have a support group that they can come and just share with one another. We have an outreach and education. [If] there are issues at home, our social worker would go make a home visit and maybe some suggestions on how to make things easier,” said Wright.

 Galeet BenZion has relied on that help. When her husband was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, in his mid-fifties, the teacher and education researcher become, for all practical purposes, a single mother of two young daughters.

“The first thing I felt was that I really need a lot whole of support because I didn’t know anything about Alzheimer’s. I certainly wasn’t prepared to be alone at age of 45, meaning, take care of a house and kids and mortgage and everything else that life entails,” said BenZion.

Caregiver Howard Simmons said it is reassuring to meet with other caregivers, and share experiences and advice. He’s grateful that such services are available for him, and his wife.

“I can’t say she’s improved, but it gives her something to do. She enjoys it,” he said.

That’s what makes this day care center a special place for Alzheimer’s patients - and their families.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: sappy
March 24, 2013 2:53 AM
My grandma is also Alzheimer. She is also go to the day service center twice a week. She cannot cook anymore. But days which no the day service, she goes to supermaket everyday. And She buys a lot of stuffs and comes back to the home... For example, it's alcohols, eggs, meats and so on. My mother and father are in trouble ;(


by: Headline Books from: Terra Alta, WV
March 23, 2013 2:08 PM
If you're a caregiver to an Alzheimer's patient, you need to get "Alzheimer's Care With Dignity" by Frank Fuerst. Frank cared for his wife June for 17 years after her early-onset diagnosis. His book, written from personal experience, is packed with practical, invaluable advice. http://amzn.to/MEDHWA

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid