When a person loses the ability to care for themself, caregiving duties often fall in the hands of close friends and family members. While caring for a loved one can be deeply rewarding, over time it is common for caregivers to become overwhelmed, and even depressed, as a result of neglecting their personal needs. Additionally, evidence shows that the well-being of a caregiver can significantly affect the health of the person they care for, which is why it’s especially important for caregivers to take precaution.
The Family Caregiver Alliance reported that 40%-70% of American caregivers have symptoms of depression due to insufficient sleep, exercise, eating habits, socialization, and finances. However, studies show that caregivers who use adult day services (ADS), several times per week, suffer less emotional distress and enjoy better health overall compared to caregivers who do not use ADS. ShelterCare’s new Uhlhorn Day Center will be Lane County’s first ADS that provides Medicaid-eligible adults and seniors with the opportunity to connect with others, enhance daily living skills, and consult with professionals about their personal and healthcare needs. As participants reap the incredible health benefits from Uhlhorn Day Center, so can their caregivers. Featured below are six of benefits of Uhlhorn Day Center for caregivers.
Caregiving is exhausting work, yet getting a full night of sleep is rare for many caregivers. A lack of sleep affects mood, focus, memory, speech, and greatly increases someone’s risk for depression. A benefit of utilizing Uhlhorn Day Center is having a few hours, or an entire day, to rest at home before your loved one returns for the evening.
Whether they be a parent, spouse, sibling, or close friend, caring for a loved one can happen unexpectedly. These sudden demands of caregiving can strain relationships between caregivers and their loves ones. Uhlhorn Day Center will provide caregivers and participants with space to breath, reflect, and cope with their situations. Additionally, a day service can provide caregivers with time to build relationships with friends, peers, co-workers, and family members.
Healthy Eating Habits
Caring for a loved one can be stressful, time-consuming work, which may lead to poor eating habits. According to AARP, a recent study published in Physiology & Behavior found that stress levels play a significant role in the foods we crave, and the way our bodies store energy. “When the body is under stress, the neurochemicals that help balance our moods do not function properly and the body releases stress hormones. These stress hormones — called glucocorticoids — then cause cravings for high-sugar and high-fat foods.” Uhlhorn Day Center can help alleviate caregiver stress by supporting participants several hours per day. These hours provide caregivers with more time to focus on their health – relax, exercise, and prepare meals – so they can feel good everyday. For healthy meal tips, especially for caregivers, click here.
More Time for Yourself
The average caregiver spends 24 hours per week caring for a loved one, which compels many to put their recreational activities on hold. According to a 2014 study by American Heart Association, researchers found that the healthiest, happiest caregivers were those who made time for their own hobbies and interests. By using a program like Uhlhorn Day Center, caregivers can pause their caretaking duties to enjoy the activities they love, while improving their mental and physical health.
According to AARP, our country’s 40 million unpaid family caregivers spend an average of $6,954 per year in out-of-pocket expenses for their loved ones. This cost includes household items, medical services, personal care items, travel expenses, and the cost of other adult day services. However, caregivers of Medicaid-eligible participants can save cash by allowing Uhlhorn Day Center to provide daily meals, snacks, and activities to their loved ones. With free dental and nursing services provided on-site, caregivers can save the cost of going to an outside provider. Additionally, Uhlhorn Day Center will also provide caregivers, and their loved ones, with information about community resources that can alleviate the cost of food, utilities, and other necessities.
Support groups provide a safe place for caregivers to focus on their own feelings and needs. Uhlhorn’s optional support groups will allow caregivers the opportunity to connect, learn, and build relationships with other caregivers in the community. Additionally, the program will also provide counseling and support groups to caregivers and their loved ones; so they can express their feelings, break communication barriers, and strengthen their relationships with one another. If you are a caregiver interested in enrolling a loved one in Uhlhorn Day Center, click here to learn about client eligibility.