Caregivers: Register for ‘Day Out’

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By Correne Martin

Caregivers know it’s just as important to take care of themselves as it is their loved ones. But finding the best time and back-up caretaker to make that happen is never easy. 

To help area guardians get the respite they need, a Caregivers Day Out is being offered Saturday, Dec. 7. From 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the Aging and Disability Resource Center, of Prairie du Chien, will give caregivers that necessary time away to do whatever they choose, whether it’s to go Christmas shopping, grab lunch with friends, catch a movie at the theater, take a nap, etc. 

The ADRC is working with Unity Adult Day Care, in downtown Prairie du Chien, to offer Caregivers Day out free of charge, according to ADRC Director Roby Fuller. Also, the agency is collaborating with local in-home providers Homeward Bound, Lori Knapp and new business A&J to set up in-home respite for those unable to leave their homes.

While caregivers enjoy a few hours away, loved ones at the day care facility will have the companionship of community club and student organization members, Fuller said. Fun activities are being planned, including Christmas cookie decorating, caroling, playing games, and doing other fun activities. 

At the end of the five hours, free gift wrapping will also be provided for those guardians who went Christmas shopping during their “day out.”

Pre-registration is required by Friday, Nov. 22. Call the ADRC at 326-0235 to register. 

“Residents from any community are welcome,” Fuller said. “Everyone who registers will receive a goodie bag filled with business donations, the book ‘My Two Elaines’ by Martin Schreiber and a Laughter Yoga CD.” 

Many caretakers are humble givers who, Fuller noted, often neglect their own self-care, run on empty with high stress levels and find themselves unable to get anything done.

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, in the last 12 months, about 34.2 million have provided unpaid care to an adult 50 or older, 39.8 million have cared for adults with a disability or illness, and 15.7 million have provided care for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

With this in mind, she hopes people will utilize Caregivers Day Out. 

She also wants the public to be aware that respite services can be provided to them regularly through the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) and the Alzheimer’s Family Caregiver Support Program (AFCSP). Funds are available to families in each county to cover the cost of qualified individuals providing temporary caregiver respite care and purchase goods and services needed to help care for people age 60 or older as well as those with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

According to Fuller, these program services can be provided in the home, at a day program or a short-stay facility. 

Services for caregivers include chore services such as yard work, snow shoveling or heavy housework; personal care like dressing, bathing and toileting; homemaking tasks such as meal prep, shopping or light housework; companionship and general supervision for safety. Services and items that assist the caregiver in providing care include transportation; home-delivered meals; caregiver counseling and education; assistive devices like weighted silverware, adaptive clothing, door locks, bed alarms; minor home modifications such as wheelchair ramps and grab bars; incontinence and other supplies; and safety equipment like Lifeline or other emergency response systems.

Fuller said, this year, 24 people have taken advantage of the NFCSP and two of the AFCSP. 

“We’ve also assisted grandparents taking care of grandchildren with school clothes, and approved other individualized services,” she stated. 

For information about eligibility for these programs, contact the ADRC of Eagle Country-Prairie du Chien Office at 326-0235 or (877) 794-2372.

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