Until you’ve cared for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, it’s difficult to understand the toll it can take on family caregivers.
“People who know little about dementia do not understand the all-encompassing stress of being a caregiver. It is too much.” Those powerful words come from family caregiver Barbara, who cared for her mother with dementia until she passed away a few years ago.
Barbara was pursuing a college degree when her mother was diagnosed with dementia. When the caregiving burden became too much for her mother’s husband to handle, Barbara moved her mother into her own home.
“I had a lot going on in my life, but having my mom quadrupled that,” Barbara says. “Suddenly you have to take responsibility for every aspect of another person’s life: financial, legal. You have to be their health advocate. It takes a lot of stamina to get everything done.”
And, of course, family caregivers also have to provide the daily assistance their loved one needs. Providing care to a parent or spouse with a chronic disease can consume every second of your day. It can become hard to find the time to take a moment for yourself. Being stretched so thin can lead to guilt because you feel you cannot be all the places you should be, doing all the things you should be doing—especially if you have no other family members to help you, as was Barbara’s case.
Several months into her caregiving journey, Barbara heard about the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Relief Grant Program, a project of Home Instead Senior Care®, Hilarity for Charity and the Alzheimer’s Association. “I belong to a closed group on Facebook for Alzheimer’s caregivers, and it mentioned the grant program so I thought I would fill out the application,” Barbara said.
Hilarity for Charity and the Alzheimer’s Association Grants
The grant program awards caregiving grants to families throughout the U.S. and Canada to give them support and rest. Tapping funds raised by Hilarity for Charity, an initiative spearheaded by comedian Seth Rogen and his wife to raise money and Alzheimer’s awareness, the grants offer free professional caregiving services through a local Home Instead Senior Care franchise.
When Rogen married actress Lauren Miller, he married into the “Alzheimer’s family.” You see, Lauren’s mother was diagnosed with the condition a few years ago, at age 55. Rogen quickly learned what a toll Alzheimer’s can take on both the affected person and the family caregivers. As he once told CNN, "I think until you see it firsthand, it's kind of hard to conceive of how brutal it is. Until I saw it, you just don't get how heartbreaking it can be."
Because of their very personal experience with Alzheimer’s, Rogen and Miller created a movement called Hilarity for Charity®. The movement aims to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s and raise funds to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. Hilarity for Charity’s partnership with Home Instead Senior Care provides grants for in-home Alzheimer’s care at no cost to families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Locally owned Home Instead Senior Care franchises across the U.S. and Canada have also pledged more than 37,000 hours of in-home care services, valued at $740,000, to supplement the monetary funding provided by Hilarity for Charity for this program.
The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Relief Grant program delivers much-needed help to families throughout the U.S. and Canada. All you have to do to be considered for a grant is fill out a grant application.
The grant program includes a free home care consultation so you can learn more about how these services can benefit your loved one (and you, as a family caregiver!). Alzheimer’s care services funded through the grant program will be delivered by a highly skilled and trained CAREGiverSM. Here are a few of the many ways professional in-home Alzheimer’s care can benefit your loved one:
- Allows the senior to remain safe at home
- Encourages engagement
- Provides nutritious meals
- Creates social interaction
- Provides mind-stimulating activities
- Tracks changing behaviors
- Honors who the senior was earlier in life
- Supports the family
These Alzheimer’s care grants make it possible for you to get some time for yourself – to recharge your caregiving battery – while enjoying the peace-of-mind that comes from knowing your loved one is receiving top-notch care.
The First Thing Barbara Did with her Free Time
“To be honest, I forgot all about the application after I submitted it,” Barbara said. “Then, a few months later, I heard I’d received an award for 25 hours of care per week for 52 weeks. I called my local Home Instead Senior Care office to arrange it.”
While the award is financial in nature, perhaps the greatest benefit it confers to caregivers is the gift of time. “Receiving the grant freed me up to leave the house, because Mom was at the stage where she couldn’t be left alone,” said Barbara.
Barbara’s mother could not be left alone for any length of time, due to the severity of her dementia. That meant Barbara had to provide 24-hour supervision, with no time to take care of her own needs. She couldn’t even take a few minutes to tend her yard.
“The grant affected my quality of life tremendously,” Barbara said. “The first thing I did was take some time for myself. If I wanted to go down in the yard and do something for a while, I could do it. If I needed to run down to the post office, I could do it.”
The grant also benefited Barbara’s mother by providing social stimulation from someone other than her daughter. “I think the biggest benefit for Mom was the fact she had interactions with someone different from me,” Barbara said. “Just knowing there is someone there who will hold your hand and care...that means a lot [to people with dementia].”
You do not need to demonstrate financial need to apply for an Alzheimer’s care grant. Hilarity for Charity and Home Instead Senior Care want to bring complementary high-quality in-home care to as many people as possible. Anyone caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is eligible to apply. Apply to receive an Alzheimer’s care grant today.
Alzheimer’s is the opposite of funny. But receiving free respite care may help put a smile back on your face.
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