Calling out to each other for help has been going on for many years. The most commonly know is the SOS distress code for signaling danger. The SOS or (…—…) has been used internationally since 1906.
The signal meant several things including “save our ship” and “save our souls”. Mariners are not the only ones that may feel like they are sinking. I’m referring to the family caregiver. This is a noble group of people that put the needs of others before themselves. They give every day to the care and well being of another. The family caregiver has a 24 hour a day job with no vacation or sick leave. I suggest that we assign caregivers their own SOS signal, “SAVE OUR STRENGTH.” We offer services at the Senior Center to help with caregiver distress signals.
Day Break is an Elder Care Center located with our Senior Center. Our staff is ready to respond to urgent SOS signals. We can save your strength by taking over the responsibilities of care giving tasks. Day Break helps those that cannot stay home alone. We plan our day around those attending, customizing activities to their interests. Day Break prides in being excellent entertainers. We are card players, trivia masters, crossword enthusiasts, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” junkies and over-all competitors. We have the beginning of our own game room with a pool table, table tennis and our newly added shuffleboard table. Day Break assists the Senior Center Nutrition Program by labeling Home Delivered Meals Trays. We also fold newsletters for the Dog and Cat Shelter and have recently started helping with the Travel and Tourism brochures. We strive to keep everyone engaged in meaningful activities or just having good old fashioned fun. If we receive your SOS on the right day, you may catch us just in time before we leave for a local restaurant or walk to the park for ice cream. Day Break is a place that the participant can rest and read or become involved in numerous activities. If you are sending out a distress signal for help in providing personal care, we got you covered. Day Break has a handicapped walk-in shower and a hydrotherapy bath tub. The staff provides assistance to ensure safety while enjoying that spa atmosphere.
Attending Day Break may sound good to a caregiver in need of an SOS, but how does a caregiver go about getting their care receiver to agree. A caregiver needs to convince themselves first, come for a tour to see what to expect. Then, look for a hook. Schedule your visit when there is an activity that would be enjoyable. Don’t leave the first day, stay and be a part of the experience. The objective of the first visit is to get the person to agree to return. Some enjoy attending because they see Day Break as their “club”. Remember to reinforce the positive and come again.
Caregivers may need to send a distress signal for their own needs and health. We can throw you a life preserver in the form of Family Caregiver Services. This program under the direction of Stella Montano is there to offer support and provide stress management. Support groups are held weekly for caregivers to learn and share experiences. These groups function like a large extended family with members being an active part in supporting one another. Day break is available during support group for caregivers that feel uneasy about leaving the person they care for at home. The Family Caregiver program also provides respite in the home. Family Caregiver and Day Break work closely together to provide the right service for every individual.
Reasons to send out an SOS: You are feeling tired and overwhelmed by worrying about the health and safety of another. You are neglecting your own health. Your care receiver has become increasingly dependent on your time and energy? You need people to talk to that understand your situation. Remember no caregiver needs to tread water. If you feel like you are going under and need support send us a SOS.
Columnist Barb Blue is the Director of Day Break Services at the Sheridan Senior Center. For information on the Day Break program for adults, contact Barb at 672-2240. “Center Stage is written by friends of the Senior Center for the Sheridan Community. It is a collection of insights and stories related to living well at every age.”