Several kinds of services are available for caregivers of individuals with dementia. Try to find out about available services in your community before you need them. This way, when you feel that you need outside help, you will already have program information and contact numbers at your fingertips instead of searching for available services while you are under excessive stress. Some of the services that may be available in your neighborhood include:
- Adult day care - Provides supervision and social opportunities for people with dementia outside of the home for anywhere from a few hours to a whole day. Adult day care agencies normally does not offer overnight care. Many can provide personal care, such as assistance with medications, toileting, and eating. Meals and/or snacks are often included.
- In-home respite care - Provides caregivers with a break while providing supervision and social engagement to people with dementia. Some respite providers are not licensed to provide personal care, but can provide socialization and light meal preparation. These types of respite care providers are appropriate during the early stages of Alzheimer's or a related dementia; however, if the disease has progressed to the point where assistance with personal care is necessary, be sure to find out whether the respite care provider can perform these services.
- Home health care - Provides medical care services such as injections, frequent blood pressure checks, or other procedures that you cannot provide and that in-home respite companions are not licensed to perform.
- Government programs - Several programs may be available to help meet the needs of people with dementia. For example, Meals-On-Wheels provides home-delivered meals to older adults in need, and the National Family Caregiver Support Program provides information, training, case management, respite, and other supportive services to primary caregivers.
Contacting your local Area Agency on Aging is the best way to find out about local services. Agencies on Aging are listed in the phone book as well as at http://www.eldercare.gov. The organizations listed below in the section on web resources can also help you find the local services you need.