Respite care: The most important gift to caretakers of those with Alzheimer’s
Every time Sue Noble hears there is another Seth Rogen movie coming out, she feels nothing but gratitude. Noble’s husband Mike was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease six years ago at the age of 58.
Since then, Noble has quit her teaching job and moved in with her sister and brother-in-law in Lake Wildwood for support.
Thanks to family help in the form of everyday household tasks, Noble, now 57, is able to devote her days to her husband, whose condition continues to deteriorate.
While online one day, she spotted a link in one of the Alzheimer’s group letters. It led her to “Hilarity for Charity,” a series of fundraisers led by comedian, actor, producer and director Seth Rogen and his wife, Lauren.
The organization was established to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease among the millennial generation.
Rogen’s mother-in-law was diagnosed at age 55 with early onset Alzheimer’s. That’s why, in October 2014, the Rogens partnered with Home Instead Senior Care to introduce the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Relief Grant Program, an opportunity for families across the U.S. and Canada to apply for free home care.
Home Instead is a provider of in-home care services, employing approximately 65,000 caregivers worldwide.
Noble decided to apply to the grant program, knowing it was a long shot. But a few months later, the phone rang.
“They told me that I had been granted 25 hours of free care,” said Noble. “I cried.”
While 25 hours may not seem like much to the average person, to Noble, who spends every waking hour keeping her husband safe — including the hours in the middle of the night — it was a tremendous gift.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s face a devastating toll, both physically and emotionally.
Nearly 60 percent of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of care giving as “high” or “very high,” and more than one-third report symptoms of depression.
Seventy percent of people with Alzheimer’s live at home and are cared for by family and friends. Too often overlooking their own health concerns, many caregivers die before those they are caring for.
As of 2014, an estimated 5.2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s, including roughly 200,000 individuals younger than age 65 who have a “younger-onset” version of the disease.
As the baby boomer generation ages, Alzheimer’s diagnoses are expected to rise.
By 2050, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that the number of Americans 65 and older with Alzheimer’s may triple from today’s 5.2 million to as many as 16 million.
Marie Bennett, director of client services for Home Instead Senior Care for Nevada, Placer, Sacramento and El Dorado counties, said they were eager partner with Hilarity for Charity and the Dementia Care Relief Grant Program.
“We wanted to give local families the opportunity to qualify for quality respite care,” said Bennett. “I would encourage anyone in need who is caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s to apply for the grant. It’s open to the community. Grants are announced on a quarterly basis and families can be awarded anywhere from 25 hours to a year’s worth of care. This could be a great opportunity for someone who can’t afford to hire someone.”
Noble has decided to break up her 25 hours of respite care into eight-hour blocks. She’s already taken advantage of one chunk.
“My best friend is my sister and we never get to do anything together,” said Noble. “Just the two of us went hiking. I came back incredibly refreshed.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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