Caregiving responsibilities can be overwhelming at times but when a caregiver has someone sharing that weight, it does not feel as heavy. Easterseals is proud to come alongside caregivers, like Erika Carlson, who supports her husband, Chuck, with dementia.
Before the pandemic, Chuck, of Lewes, was attending Easterseals adult day services, which gave Erika a welcome respite during the day. However, when COVID restrictions caused the program to be temporarily suspended, Erika was charged with 24-hour caregiving of Chuck. Unfortunately, the isolation had a detrimental impact on Chuck, complicating his care. Thankfully, Erika knew she could turn to Easterseals Community Outreach Program (COP) for support for caregivers.
Erika contacted one of Easterseals’ Case Managers to learn about other resources that might be beneficial to her as she cares for Chuck at home. One such resource was the Lifespan Respite Voucher Program. Through the respite program, Erika received a small grant and is able to pay a neighbor to help out so she can take a break from caregiving.
“When Chuck was able to attend the program, I saw how much good Easterseals does for people like him. Easterseals is really terrific. Thank goodness for Easterseals. I can’t say enough good things about them,” Erika says. “When the caregiver is here, I am able to do what I need to get done that I am not able to do with Chuck. I am able to recharge myself for whatever is coming.”
Older Americans Month is an annual observance that offers an opportunity to learn about, support and recognize our nation’s older citizens, like Chuck and Erika. For Easterseals, offering options for seniors to age gracefully in their community is a year-round mission. Easterseals adult day care services are just one of the ways the nonprofit helps adults who have experienced a disabling condition and/or seniors to remain living more independently at home. Participants in the adult day program are encouraged to choose from a variety of activities such as arts and crafts, exercise, community trips, computer access and more while at Easterseals. Adult day programs provide a break from caregiving for families or those who work and have other responsibilities.
Although Easterseals programs have reopened, many participants, like Chuck, are not able to attend in person for various reasons. Respite grants from the COP, can help caregivers, even those not involved in other Easterseals programs, rejuvenate and take a break from the demand of caregiving.
Besides adult day services, Easterseals also offers a variety of other resources for families. For example, caregivers have found the Easterseals Resource & Technology Demonstration Center to be a critical resource. Staff are available to help seniors and caregivers learn about devices and equipment to help loved ones remain living safely and independently at home. The Resource Center is not currently open, but they do have a virtual tour available here.