Caring for a loved one with dementia can be stressful, particularly when you live with that person. That's when an adult day care center, like Wellspring Meadows Assisted Living, may help. A day program designed for individuals with dementia not only offers benefits to your loved one, but offers both physical and emotional benefits to you as well.
What Research Shows
The findings of one study showed that caregivers who were under a lot of stress were likely to be less depressed on days when their family member with dementia attended a day center than on days the person did not attend. Researchers speculate that since day centers give family caregivers a break, it gives their bodies some time to recover from the physical and psychological stress of caring for a loved one.
Effects Chronic Stress Can Have On Your Body
Stress can have harmful effects on the body. Tension related to stress builds when you face the constant challenges of caring for someone with dementia without respite time to give your body a chance to relax and recharge. Without some period of relief, your body becomes overworked physically and your mind overloaded with worries.
Unless that stress is relieved, chemicals the body releases when you are coping with chronic stress can lower your immunity and impair the function of major organ systems. As a result, you can experience physical symptoms and increase the risk of chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease. In addition to contributing to the development of new health conditions, chronic stress can make existing health problems worse or make it more difficult to recover from illness.
Chronic stress can take a negative toll on your mental health too. While stress hormones often act as sedatives to produce a calming effect, overproduction of these same hormones during times of constant stress can make you feel tired or depressed.
The continual presence of stress hormones in the body can decrease functioning in the part of the brain associated with concentration, memory, and decision making. Therefore, prolonged emotional strain that leads to anxiety may contribute to poor concentration and poor judgment. Chronic stress can also bring on personality changes that may cause feelings of frustration, irritability, anger, and even hostility.
Additional Support Day Programs Offer
Many adult day programs provide support services for clients and their families, including educational programs and caregiver support groups. Some centers provide individual counseling to caregivers, arrange for additional supportive care in the home, or inform you about other resources available in the community that can help you manage your loved one's care.
Although the services day centers offer vary, many have physical, occupational, and speech therapists at the center, providing for your loved one's needs in a safe and secure environment. Knowing that your loved one's therapeutic, social, and health needs will be met can help relieve caregiver stress and allow you more time to take care of yourself and do some of the things that make you feel good.