A number of years ago, the Beatles had a hit song called, “All You Need Is Love.” It’s a nice sentiment that love can do anything, but when it comes to caregiving, love is unfortunately not enough…

Whether your loved one has dementia or some other type of chronic disabling condition, the demands on caregiving keep increasing as your loved one’s condition deteriorates. This can lead to the caregiver becoming so physically and emotionally overwhelmed that their health is adversely affected. Since the process is gradual, it is often hard for the caregiver to know when he or she has reached the limits of his or her ability to be a solo caregiver. This is why it’s a better idea to take a team approach to caregiving.

Your team should be composed of family, friends, and professionals who can both help you to recognize when you need help with caregiving and to help with caregiving tasks. There are a number of excuses people give why they cannot get help, such as “We can’t afford to get help.”, “No one can provide better care than I can.”, and “My loved one will not let anyone else be a caregiver.” On the surface these sound very compelling, but this is why you need a person on your team who is knowledgeable about services and resources in your area. Aging offices, agencies such as the Alzheimer’s Association, and elder law firms who employ an Elder Care Coordinator are some of the places you can look to find knowledgeable professionals to assist you in learning about your options for help. When faced with the documented fact that solo caregiving is detrimental to the health, and sometimes life, of the caregiver, it is imperative that you, the caregiver, get the necessary help in order to be able to continue caring for your loved one.

John Reese
Elder Care Coordinator