Older adults may want to check out a local senior center that offers free or low cost classes on cooking, computers, health and nutrition and more. Many senior centers also coordinate outings and/or offer free breakfast, lunch or coffee-others even provide transportation to and from participants’ homes. Be sure to bring your loved one with AD along with you so he/she can reap the benefits of meeting new people and socially interact. Visiting a senior center on a regular basis is one sure way to meet new people and stay informed on what’s going on in your community.
Another great way to stay connected and meet new people is to volunteer. Consider signing your loved one up for a local Adult Day Center, and then ask if you can volunteer your services there. Most Adult Day Centers use volunteers to help serve meals, read or play cards or games with seniors. Perhaps you have a special skill you could share like starting knitting or cooking health meals. At any rate, it would give you an opportunity to get out on a regular basis and meet other adult volunteers while helping other seniors.
If you have other interests or talents you would like to explore, that’s okay too. There are many volunteer opportunities in just about every community. If you like working with kids or teens, consider helping with a school literacy program or volunteer to work with homeless kids, there are endless opportunities. Check out the website “Corporation for National and Community Service” at http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs to find out more about how you can help in your local community through programs such as; Americorp, Senior Corp, Senior Companions, Foster Grandparents and more.
As a caregiver, you may want to check out resources in your local community such as “Senior Companions” if you need someone to volunteer to come into the home and spend time with your loved one. This service is particularly helpful for caregivers who work full time or those who are long distance.
If you are feeling that you don’t have time because of the many caregiving responsibilities you have taken on, perhaps you could get your loved one with AD involved in a part-time Adult Day Center, or hire someone to provide respite care at least once or twice a week- while you get out to be volunteer and explore some social networking opportunities such as; joining a book club, taking up a new sport or signing up for an art or exercise class.
Taking care of yourself is a never ending job as a caregiver of a loved one with AD, but by investing in yourself you will find that you’ll be much more effective at your job as a caregiver. Check out our 25 lesson course for Caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s disease by CLICKING HERE to join at AlzU.org.