Families faced with caring for an aging parent or a relative with disabilities often make extreme sacrifices to ensure their loved one has the best care possible. They go the extra mile to get their relatives medical services while also taking on household upkeep and maintaining their own jobs and daily routines.
Because caregivers view themselves as their loved ones’ primary advocates, they can be tempted to manage all the caretaking needs by themselves. They frequently feel guilty if they put their needs before their family members’ or if their relatives experience a health setback and end up in the hospital.
However, without breaks for self care or assistance from others, caregivers’ stress can build over time, eventually leading to burnout. This emotional exhaustion makes it even more difficult to continue to care for aging parents or relatives with disabilities. Think of it like putting on a mask on an airplane: You need to make sure you are happy and healthy before being able to effectively care for someone else.
Fortunately, caregivers don’t have to do it alone. They can turn to the many resources and programs available, such as those offered by Chicago Commons, to help aging individuals and people with disabilities.
Chicago Commons has been helping families care for elderly family members since 1980 as one of Chicago’s largest providers of senior services. Along with our services for individuals with disabilities, Chicago Commons can help give caregivers a much-deserved break and ensure they are emotionally and physically able to care for their loved ones. Over 1,300 people in the Chicago metropolitan area rely on Chicago Commons home care services currently, and 80 take advantage of our Adult Day Services (ADS) program.
At-Home Resources for Caregivers
Many older people and individuals with disabilities require support services to ensure their medical and cognitive needs are met. They often are experiencing physical and cognitive decline and need someone available to take them to doctors’ appointments and give reminders to take medicine. When this can become too overwhelming for a caregiver, Chicago Commons offers at-home services that fill the gap.
Most people follow a daily routine for the majority of their lives. But as a person ages it can be difficult to maintain those routines, causing frustration that can lead to institutionalization when caretakers are unable to provide the care that a family member needs. With its at-home services, Chicago Commons provides support that ensures seniors and adults with disabilities don’t have to struggle with daily routines.
Our staff caregivers assist with light housekeeping, meal preparation, laundry, running errands, and more. Thanks to this support, aging adults and those with disabilities can live more independently in their homes without having to go into an institution, and caregivers can continue their daily lives without having to sacrifice their needs to help their loved ones.
A Home Away From Home
Of course, at-home services aren’t the best solution for every family. Some individuals benefit from socializing with others and participating in group activities. Families can enroll their loved ones in Chicago Commons ADS program to provide them with a “home away from home.” The program is convenient for families and their loved ones, who are picked up at home and shuttled to ADS. While this resource may seem financially out of reach, qualifying individuals attend the program for free using their Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
At ADS, participants engage in cognitive activities such as painting by numbers and physical activities like balance training, which helps prevent falls. Other activities include workshops in partnership with Rush Medical Center on healthy cooking. Seniors and adults with disabilities in the program are also provided with a nutritious breakfast, lunch and a snack—taking some of the strain off of caregivers to do it all.
While ADS is a group program, participants receive individualized care. Our on-site nurses monitor vitals, provide preventative care, and ensure your loved one is safe and healthy while attending our program.
A Network of Care
Being the primary caregiver of a senior or adult with a disability can sometimes be an isolating experience. Through Chicago Commons Family Hub, caretakers can also form a network of others going through a similar experience.
The Hub offers group classes on issues like understanding Alzheimer’s and dementia and the impacts of these diseases on families. It also functions as an intergenerational resource center — providing everything from financial coaching to wellness services to ensure families have the support they need to thrive.
You can find out more about Chicago Common and our network of services for seniors and adults with disabilities — as well as the other resources we provide local families — at chicagocommons.org.
Chicago Commons is at the forefront of providing resources for those caring for elderly family members or individuals with disabilities.