Family caregivers of senior loved ones living with dementia can become trapped between what their heart wants to continue to do and what their mind and body are trying to tell them they can no longer do. Often, even as the loved one’s dementia progresses, caregivers are reluctant to admit that changes are necessary.

The Physical and Emotional Cost of Caregiving

Caregivers need to recognize the physical and emotional stress caused when caring for a loved one, which often is heightened when the loved one has dementia. If ignored, the caregiver can potentially develop the following:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Anxiety
  • Caregiver Stress Syndrome
  • Depression
  • Exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Increased illnesses
  • Irritability
  • Neglect of other responsibilities
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain

The caregiver can be overcome by a feeling of powerlessness as he or she watches the loved one they knew cognitively fade away—unable to remember people close to them, repeating the same questions over and over, exhibiting abusive behavior, wandering, and exhibiting confusion, agitation, and frustration.

When it’s Time

Even though friends, relatives, professional home care personnel, or senior care community staff in assisted living can take some responsibility off the shoulders of a family caregiver, a point is reached where more supervised care is needed.

The Alzheimer’s Association provides information about when in-home care is no longer feasible, and a check list of what to look for in a memory care facility.

Memory Support at Bethesda

While Bethesda Senior Support Solutions provides in-home support care for those living with dementia, another level of memory care is available in “neighborhoods” located within four of Bethesda’s senior communities.

The neighborhoods specialize in the care of people in the advanced stages of dementia. They receive medical supervision; therapy services; assistance with daily living activities like dressing, bathing, managing medications; and other personal care services.

Meals, laundry service and activities are provided in a 24-hour supervised setting with staff trained and experienced in working with dementia residents.

These neighborhoods feature a high staff-to-resident ratio in an easy-to-navigate environment. Residents can exercise, create craft projects and participate in other activities.

Family Caregivers

The most important benefit a family caregiver receives when their senior loved one enters a memory care neighborhood is the relief in knowing that their loved one is in a safe and secure environment.

Family members are welcomed and encouraged to stay actively involved with their loved one’s care. The Bethesda staff designs an individualized service plan for each resident that is shared with the family. The family is updated about how their senior is responding to, and participating in, neighborhood activities.*

As the burden of care eases for the family member, caregivers may also re-discover some special moments with their loved one.

For more information around Bethesda’s memory care services, check out our Care and Services page.

*During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bethesda staff members continue to keep all residents active and engaged while observing government agency guidelines for the prevention and spread of the virus.

We at Bethesda believe strongly in the importance of family members visiting their loved ones in our communities. However, to keep our residents and staff safe we have temporarily restricted external visitation.