Caring for a loved one with dementia can leave caregivers feeling isolated and overwhelmed. Luckily, there are ways to alleviate some of that stress and find a little support.
First, it’s important to recognize that there is help available. Nonprofit organizations and your local municipality are a good place to start, because they’re connected with a wealth of resources in the community, says Kelsey Burback, director of sales and marketing at Encore Memory Care, which offers full-time residential care for people who have early, mid-stage and advanced Alzheimer’s disease with locations in South Barrington and Crystal Lake.
“Part of my job is outreach, so I’m very connected with areas like the village of Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates and the Barrington Area Council on Aging,” she adds. “It does take a village.”
It’s also important to know you’re not alone. Annually, more than 16 million Americans provide more than 17 billion hours of unpaid care for family and friends with dementia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At communities like Encore Memory Care, support groups offer a patient ear and a helping hand to help caregivers avoid feelings of burnout. Encore’s Crystal Lake group meets on the third Monday of every month and Encore’s South Barrington group meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month. These meetings are open to the general public and those with family members at Encore.
People who attend the group find emotional support, practical advice and a sense of community.
Burnout is common among those who are caring for a loved one at home, and typical signs include impatience, fatigue and changes in eating and sleeping patterns, Burback says. She encourages caregivers to seek assistance when things get challenging. That’s why support groups exist.
“Don’t be afraid to reach out,” says Burback. “There are places that are here to help. Our priority is helping families, whether they move their loved one to Encore or not.”
Encore Memory Care is located at 215 Bartlett Road, in South Barrington, (847) 955-1205, and 495 Alexandra Boulevard, in Crystal Lake, (815) 459-7800.