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Day 13: The Best Decision I made as a Caregiver

November 13, 2011

By Lucy Lazarony

My mother Jean has been attending an adult day center run by Alzheimer’s Community Care in Boca Raton, Fla. since June 2006.

My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in September 2005 and choosing to enroll her in a specialized adult day center is the best decision I have ever made as a caregiver.

The day center staff led by program manager Denise Douglas understands all the physical and emotional and cognitive twists and turns of Alzheimer’s disease. And after five years we have gone on quite a journey together as partners in my mother’s caregiving.

In fact, it’s hard for me to imagine how we would have managed my mother’s care without them.

Without Denise and Georgia and Linda and Kattie looking out for my mother first one day a week, and then two days a week, then three, then four, then five.

Without checking in with them about dips in my mother’s health and well-being.

Without conferring with them after my mother’s doctor appointments and hospital visits.

Without their smiles and laughter and hugs.

With each downturn in my mother’s disease, the day center staff has been there for my family offering advice and support.

The hours of respite we receive as family caregivers, those precious hours my mother spends with her friends at the day center, have been essential to the emotional well-being of my family.

As caregivers we know we can relax and go about our own lives for a few hours each weekday.

In the challenging earlier stages of my mother’s disease when the need for respite was so acute, I would drop my mother off at the day center and head to these lovely Japanese gardens to relax.

I knew my mother was safe and well at the day center and I allowed myself some moments of deep stillness and peace.

As caregivers we owe ourselves these kinds of moments of peace. And finding a day center to care for my mother allowed me to claim mine.

Lucy Lazarony is a freelance writer based in Boynton Beach, Florida.

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Day 13: The Best Decision I ever made as a Caregiver by Lucy Lazorony is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.