Illinois Cognitive Resources Network

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How to Help a Parent Who Is the Primary Caregiver

A primary caregiver—especially a spouse—may be hesitant to ask for help or a break. Be sure to acknowledge how important the caregiver has been for the care recipient. Also, discuss the physical and emotional effects caregiving can have on people. Although caregiving can be satisfying, it also can be very hard work.

Offer to arrange for respite care. Respite care will give your parent a break from caregiving responsibilities. It can be arranged for just an afternoon or for several days. Care can be provided in the family home, through an adult day services program, or at a skilled nursing facility.

The ARCH National Respite Locator Service can help you find services in your parents’ community. You might suggest contacting the Well Spouse Association. It offers support to the wives, husbands, and partners of chronically ill or disabled people and has a nationwide listing of local support groups.

Your parents may need more help from home-based care to continue to live in their own home. Some people find it hard to have paid caregivers in the house, but most also say that the assistance is invaluable. If the primary caregiver is reluctant, point out that with an in-home aide, she may have more energy to devote to caregiving and some time for herself. Suggest she try it for a short time, and then decide.

In time, the person receiving care may have to move to assisted living or a nursing home. If that happens, the primary caregiver will need your support. You can help select a facility. The primary caregiver may need help adjusting to the person’s absence or to living alone at home. Just listening may not sound like much help, but often it is.

For More Information About Caregiving

National Respite Locator Service
www.archrespite.org/respitelocator

Well Spouse Association
800-838-0879
info@wellspouse.org
www.wellspouse.org

Caregiver Action Network
202-454-3970
info@caregiveraction.org
www.caregiveraction.org

Eldercare Locator
800-677-1116
eldercarelocator@n4a.org 
https://eldercare.acl.gov

Family Caregiver Alliance
800-445-8106
info@caregiver.org
www.caregiver.org

Published by Chrishun Brown

Communications Manager for the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center

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