More than 29 percent of the U.S. adult population consider themselves to be informal caregivers to the chronically ill, disabled, or elderly, according to the National Family Caregivers Association. Although caring for loved ones in need seems to be a trend nationwide, the effects of caring for individuals in need can be overwhelming. This is especially true for those who are caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive disease that affects memory and other important mental functions. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, caregivers for those with Alzheimer’s disease frequently report experiencing high stress levels. While many recognize the physical and emotional impacts on both the caregiver and their ailing loved one, some have failed to recognize the importance spirituality can have on the health of these individuals. Spirituality can benefit a caregiver by providing comfort and meaning.
Spirituality holds a different meaning to each person. For caregivers, “spiritual care” is one of the ways they can bring themselves and the families of those with Alzheimer’s disease peace of mind. Individuals with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease may reach a point when they are no longer able to communicate or perform tasks in the same way they used to, and they may be dealing with mood and personality changes. These debilitating effects may directly impact the caregiver as well.
Many caregivers find that spiritual assistance can help family members cope with the effects their loved one’s Alzheimer’s disease has on them. For some, this may include prayers – forming a soul connection with a higher power or powers. For others, it may just be taking a few minutes in solitude in nature. Others may seek to establish a connection with other people as part of a faith-based community, such as a church, a temple or mosque. Regardless of how it is practiced, spirituality may help these individuals find a sense of balance and comfort.
A study published in the June 2016 edition of the International Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Studies found that there was an inverse relationship between spiritual well-being and strain among caregivers of individuals with dementia. The results highlighted the importance of caregivers addressing their spiritual well-being, as well as the development of a positive relationship with themselves, others, their environment, and a divine power. Integrating spiritual beliefs, values, and connectedness in strain management interventions may not only help caregivers experience the process as a positive one and help them find meaning in life, but could also have a positive impact on their total well-being.
Facing a chronic illness can be challenging for both seniors and their loved ones, and the burdens of planning, financing and obtaining proper long-term care services can be difficult. The elder care and life planning attorneys and coordinators at Tully Law, PC are experienced in creating life care plans to meet the needs of individuals with chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. From defining and selecting the best care, to coordinating and advocating for the needs of the individual, to Medicaid application and eligibility assistance, we utilize all of our available resources to secure the long-term care services they need to maximize the individual’s quality of life. With offices conveniently located in Melville and Centereach, the life care planning lawyers at Tully Law, PC can help Nassau County, Suffolk County, and New York City residents develop a unique plan to meet their long-term care needs.