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August 07, 1987 - Image 24

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-08-07

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For The Caregiver

Some of the burden of caring for seriously ill
or elderly at home is eased by respite care


Special To The Jewish News


athan and Esther Gold
have been married for 45
years; Nathan is 75 and
Esther 71. Esther suffers
from Alzheimer's disease.
"Three years ago my wife was
diagnosed as having Alzheimer's and
it's been gradually down hill since
- then, " Nathan said. "Right now she
hallucinates a lot. It's amazing. She
can't remember what happened five
minutes ago, but she can describe in
detail what took place 40 years ago."
When Nathan retired after 30
years in the insurance business, he
and Esther enjoyed a pleasant life,
sharing activities and family events,
spending a few winter months in
Florida and socializing with friends.
Now Nathan takes care of Esther.
He does all the shopping, cleaning
and cooking for their Southfield
apartment. Recently, circumstances
became a little tougher to handle
after his heart attack, but Nathan
managed to get through the rough
times with help from his family and
friends. For the past year, Nathan has
had some additional respite while
Esther attends the adult day care pro-
gram five days a week at the Jewish
Home for Aged's Borman Hall.
In the past there was often no
other choice than 24-hour family or
institutional care for the disabled or
impaired adult or child. There were
no formal services in the community
to assist caregivers who wanted to
keep a dependent family member at
home. Today there is respite care, in
which the activity of providing
respite involves the ill person, but the
primary beneficiary is the caregiver.
It is not a service in itself, but the
result of a number of formal and in-
formal services.


FRIDAY, AUG. 7, 1987

Staff member Sandy Bogkansky helps Borman Hall residents cut out cookies.

Respite can be provided by
relatives and friends, through a
homemaker or a meals-on-wheels ser-
vice which enables the family
caregiver to take a break.
Other programs offer a few hours
of time off on a regular basis. Respite
is also adult day care programs or a
stay of a few weeks in a long-term
care institution. Some respite pro-
grams only provide custodial care
while others offer personal care and
even medical services.
Adult day care is the latest trend.
It may take place in a home, the home
of a respite worker, a hospital or in-
stitution, or a community or senior
center. It provides the caregiver with
a few hours off or all-day respite,
which is common for those who are
employed but still maintain care of
their parents or spouse. The range of
services available at adult day care
centers vary greatly.

The adult day care program at
Borman Hall Jewish Home For Aged
includes a full day's activity plus mor-
ning snack and lunch. Clients in this
case are the careneeders who may at-
tend part or full-time, but are charg-
ed the full fee of $19 a day without
transportation and $27 a day with
"We take in ambulatory as well as
non-ambulatory clients," explained
Libby Lavine, Day Program director,
"and we're careful not to admit those
who are self-destructive or combative
with others and those who tend
toward excessive wandering."
Nathan drives Esther to Borman
Hall and picks her up every day. "It
takes lots of time to get her ready to
go. If I leave her alone she just stands
in one place and I have to encourage
her and help her to get dressed. I can't
get her to have breakfast. She wasn't
much for breakfast before she was ill,

but that's okay. She takes some
orange juice and her pills at home and
gets a morning snack at Borman
Nathan explained that he almost
always finds it difficult to get Esther
to Borman Hall.
"When we get in the car she
wants to go home," Nathan said. "But
it's not home at our apartment. It's
the home she remembers when she
was a little girl. She wants to go home
to her mother. But I tell Esther that
we're going to Borman Hall so that
she can help other peole. You see, in
her mind Esther is not sick at all. So
by telling a few white lies, like the
meals and everything are free
because she's helping others, Esther
usually settles down. Once she ar-
rives at Borman Hall, everything is
fine. She enjoys the activities so very
Many of the activities of the day
care program at Borman Hall are in-
corporated with the regular pro-
grams: daily exercise, adult education
and art classes, bingo and bowling.
However, Borman Hall does not pro-
vide extended care, such as a two-
week stint if the caregiver wants to
take a vacation. Borman Hall's beds
are filled, and the Jewish Home for
Aged's Prentis and Fleischman
facilities do not offer a day program.
Caring for a family member can
be a burden, shrinking personal time
and leading to stress and fatigue. The
concept of respite care is not new. But
today, services and programs are
more refined so that families can
count on respite care when needed. A
1984 Jewish Welfare Federation
report recommended the adoption of
community-based respite care under
the Jewish Family Service. "The task

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