Caregivers often struggle to seek alternate care options outside the home for their loved ones because they feel guilty. They feel they should be able to handle the caregiving duties themselves and seeking outside support means failure.

But that is simply not the case. It can actually be the much more healthy option for all involved.

Did you know that keeping your disabled or aging loved ones isolated at home could actually be a detriment to their health?

Research shows that loneliness and isolation:

• Increase the risk of mortality

• Negatively affect both physical and mental health

• Contribute to cognitive decline and risk of dementia

• Make seniors more vulnerable to elder abuse and neglect

• Are linked to long-term illness

• Are major risk factors for depression

• Can cause high blood pressure

• Make loved ones more likely to need long-term care

• Make loved ones more likely to engage in unhealthy behavior

And when caregivers find themselves totally consumed with caregiving duties and unable to enjoy their own lives, they are at risk too.

Peachtree Christian Health’s new life enrichment center in Duluth serves everyone on the continuum and can help delay/prevent the need for much more expensive care options ahead.

Let’s look at the costs. The average annual cost for adult day services is $17,904 as opposed to “homemaker” home care at $44,616 and a home health aide at $45,760. Assisted living is $43,200, with semiprivate nursing home care at $80,300 and private nursing home care at $91,250.

At PCH, participants can enjoy a wealth of programs and services for just $50 to $100 per day depending upon the level of clinical care required and whether attending full or half days. This cost threshold is very doable for most families.

Participants benefit from:

• A safe, secure environment in which to spend the day

• Enjoyable and educational activities

• Help with clinical and personal care

• Appropriate physical exercise that improves wellness and reduces falls

• Meaningful social interaction that boosts mental and physical health and helps prevent or delay cognitive decline

• Mental and social stimulation that improves quality of sleep at night

• Greater independence and the opportunity to age in place.

Caregivers benefit from:

• Taking regular breaks from the demands of caregiving to reduce stress levels and help avoid burnout

• Being able to recharge so to feel more energetic, focused, and reinvigorated about caregiving

• Being able to continue to work, attend school, or devote more time to other family members

• One-stop care, including clinical, therapeutic and personal care services, minimizing other trips out and about

• Meaningful friendships and peer support

• Having peace of mind that your loved one isn’t home alone but is in a supervised and safe environment doing things they love.

Most often the biggest obstacle families face is starting the conversation. The very label of “adult day services” can cause a shut down. That’s why PCH is intentionally branding ours as a life enrichment center.

We encourage you and your loved ones to come for a tour and a free trial day to test the waters and meet others in our PCH community. We are here to help your family start the conversation and explore this great care solution that can help everyone be healthier and happier.

 Anne Mancini is prresident of Peachtree Christian Health.

People Helping People is a publication of the Gwinnett Coalition for Health & Human Services. For more information contact Ellen Gerstein at ellen@gwinnettcoalition.org or at 770-995-3339.