Opinion

Editorial: North Whidbey Caregivers’ Cove care about you

By Marci J. Buskala

A caregiver is a very special person. Most of the population has no idea what the daily life of a caregiver entails. They care for all the physical needs of a loved one who is unable to perform the tasks themselves. Each day they deal with emotional issues of the loved one as well as their own.

When dementia is present, whether from Alzheimer’s and related dementias, other chronic conditions, or issues from head injury or stroke, the stress can rise to insurmountable levels with no respite. This is where an adult day service program can literally be a life saver.

The loved one remains living in their own home, but spends a few hours or a day in the company of others with similar needs. North Whidbey Caregivers’ Cove is a non-profit Family Caregiver Resource Center with Adult Day Respite. The employees are specially trained to provide stimulating activities in a social setting that celebrates and expands on each individual’s abilities.

NWCC is open five days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with expanded hours to meet the needs of the family. Nutritious hot meals are provided as well as music, exercise and therapeutic activity programs, including field trips. NWCC is open to adults young and old who have conditions which keep them from being home alone; for example, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and related dementias, multiple sclerosis, developmentally delayed, post-stroke, brain injured and other. Funding assistance is available for qualifying individuals, and our executive director will assist you with the process.

In some communities there is a stigma attached to placing a loved one in the care of others. Will the caregiver be looked down upon by family and friends as not wanting to care for their loved one or being incapable of that care? Will they pressure the caregiver to place their person in long-term care which is usually facilitated by a physician?

Many caregivers struggle with “losing control” or “letting go.” Enrolling a loved one in an adult day service program is an opportunity for the caregiver to do something very special for them. Time spent at NWCC is like going to a favorite club or a get-together of friends. Adult day service is not like a child’s day care or a sitting service. Many caregivers are concerned their loved one might not want to participate. Consider it a gift to your loved one and the entire family as everyone’s needs are met.

The pleasant atmosphere and activities can, in some cases, actually slow the progression of dementia and provide a happy respite for the caregiver. Many caregivers wait too long before seeking help and their own health suffers. Without respite from daily obligations, the caregiver often succumbs to the results of stress and their own physical issues. It is not unheard of for the caregiver to pass away first. As a caregiver you will gain a few hours a day for as many week days as you wish to tend to your medical needs, do those extra chores on your list, take a class, rejoin a group of friends, or just relax.

NWCC is considered one of the best adult day services of the 55 in the state of Washington. The executive director is Kristi Huffman, LPN, with 16 years of experience in the adult day service field; 13 of those with Skagit Adult Day Care. She has attended many conferences, seminars and educational opportunities over the years to be able to provide clients and caregivers with the most up-to-date resources and programs available. Call today to learn more about this nonprofit Family Caregiver Resource Center with Adult Day Respite. We are currently offering a free, four-hour trial visit for your loved one. Call 279-4592.

Remember, adult day service is not what you do to your loved one, but for your loved one.

Marci J. Buskala is a volunteer caregiver for Whidbey Caregivers’ Cove, a family caregiver resource center with adult day respite. Call 279-4592 or 279-4590, or visit www.northwhidbeycaregiverscove.org.

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