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Helping a loved one with memory loss — The many meanings of “R & R”

Did you know that the word “respite” comes from the Latin word for “respect?”

As the English language has evolved, “respite” has come to mean an interval of rest or relief and — in a very real sense — a way of showing respect for yourself. This is especially true when you take a break from a responsibility so you can return to it refreshed and reinvigorated. That’s a lot of “R” words for sure.

If you are a full- or part-time caregiver for a person with Alzheimer’s or other memory loss conditions, all of these words have special meaning, beginning with that feeling of responsibility that never seems to go away. Happily, the first thing a professional will tell you is that you don’t have to go it alone — especially if you also have a job and/or are raising the next generation. Seek and accept emotional and physical support from your spouse, siblings, doctors, local and national organizations — and from anyone else who offers it. Acknowledging that nobody can do this alone is the first step toward being the best caregiver you can be.

The second thing they’ll tell you is to plan — and take — periods of “R & R” that can provide you with genuine relief. Perhaps it’s a long weekend with a special someone at a place you both enjoy. Maybe it’s a weeklong family vacation at a beach. It may even be just a few days off work, sleeping in a bit, haunting antique shops and refinishing found treasures. The point is that from time to time, you need to take time for you, to be in a better frame of mind for them.

Here at Simpson Meadows in Chester County, we have ways to support you in all this, with respite care for both memory care and assisted living and a professional staff that understands the complexities and stress of caregiving for those you hold dear. If you’d like to know more about how we can help, please call (484) 364-3462. We’re “ready.”

 

A few quick (re)treats!

Even if you don’t feel ready yet to take off for a whole week, there are plenty of ways to treat yourself well for a few hours or minutes:

1. Stop whatever you’re doing for 15 minutes and get your body in motion. Even if it’s just a few brisk laps around the house or the office building, it will improve your state of mind.

2. Don’t just wish you could relax with friends the way you used to do. Plan some fun and follow through on a lunch, a shopping trip, or a night at the movies.

3. Find a place where you can get away from all the demands on your life, for just a few minutes at a time. Whether it’s on a bench under a tree, on the fold out sofa in the guest room/den, or next to your dog by the fire, it will give you a chance to find yourself and the strength to go back out there and do your best.

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